“Bonded By Blood” is and will always be a classic Thrash Metal album. That is certain. It will always hold a place on the shrine of what changed Metal in the 80s (not to mention that it is still relevant to this day as is seen with the revival Thrash Metal movement). So when EXODUS announced that they would re-record the album, it was only an initial reaction to worry. Would their current line-up be able to give off the same energy and performances of the previous? Would this truly be a worthy endeavor?
Fortunately, “Let There Be Blood” is a great modern take on the classic release. It has the same heart as “Bonded By Blood” but with a pumped up and heavy-as-fuck production to match the intensity of the writing. This album Thrashes and smashes its way through all the classic tracks on this album (which there is no filler on this album to begin with) and all the performances are on mark.
It’s preferences to which this album is going to be judged. Rob Dukes does what he can with the vocals and although he can’t quite hit the higher parts like Paul Baloff did on the original (“And Then There Were None” vocals aren’t quite as catchy this time around) but he gives a great performance that was better than I had expected. In fact, everyone does an amazing job bringing the music back to life two decades later. Gary Holt’s machine gun rhythm work is as tight as ever, Tom Hunting’s drum work still blasts, and new comers Lee Altus and Jack Gibson give it their all on the album too with no holds barred. This is the new EXODUS and they prove that they still have the skills and guts to bring the Thrash like they did in 1985.
As a bonus, the band also added a new track to the end of the album for those collector’s out there. “Hell’s Breath” was a song written by EXODUS prior to “Bonded By Blood” and can be heard in its fully produced entirety for the first time on the album. It’s a great Thrashy track and as a fan I enjoyed actually being able to hear it – even if it does still feel like a B-side for the album.
It’s warming to my heart to know that music written over 20 years ago stands the test of time. Although the production of the original felt dated, this new production standard proves that “Bonded By Blood” is still as good today as it was then. If EXODUS was out to prove anything with “Let There Be Blood” – they proved it. They proved it with a right hook and blood upon the stage. This album is testament to the work they have accomplished and will accomplish in the future.
Songs to check out: All of them!
(Online November 20, 2008)