EXODUS is back once again with their fifth studio album, “Force Of Habit”. Unlike what the title of the album would lead you to believe, this album is showing EXODUS moving further away from their calling than ever. “Force Of Habit” is slower, more experimental, and goofier then the band has ever been before. For a Thrash Metal band, it’s these deviations that cause the album to feel weaker then any of their previous works.
At the core of the album’s flaws lies the song writing. Most of the songs on the album feel over simplified and too long. This is EXODUS trying to be their catchiest. The writing is watered down for greater consumption and many of the songs just don’t have the edge or punch where this band succeeds most. They seem to drag on longer than needed and with the simplified writing I felt that the message came across quite easily and the instrumental work wasn’t as appealing as before.
Adding in the two covers onto the album doesn’t help much either. Even though EXODUS has made oddball covers work in the past, these two don’t match up quite as well on the album. The cover of THE ROLLING STONES, “Bitch”, uses horns that make the song instantly pop out but it’s not a beneficial pop as one would hope. And the cover of “Pump It Up” works a little better but it still would have been better as a B-side or bonus track instead.
It is also the second album to feature this particular line-up (with Souza on vocals, HolT and Hunolt on guitars, and Tempesta on drums) with the addition of Butler on bass. But once again, the performances on this album suffer a bit. Souza seems to be pushing further and further into ‘stand up comedian’ vocal work. Although Tempesta is a good drummer, he doesn’t do anything too spectacular on this album and the song writing seems to undermine a lot of the great things that Holt and Hunolt could do together.
I always now that it’s a bad sign when a Thrash band forgoes their logo on the album cover and “Force Of Habit” just reinforces this belief. Although some of the songs on the album are fun nothing on this release lives up to the talent and ferocity this band is known for. It’s a disappointment all around and it was a sad moment for the band to break up on. It deviated too much from what made EXODUS the band they were. Luckily it wasn’t the last album by the band.
Songs to check out: “Thorn In My Side”, “Climb Before The Fall”, “When It Rains It Pours”.
(Online November 22, 2008)