Despite some of the controversies that EXODUS has come through the last few years, the band seems to have garnered even more confidence and balls with their vision of what modern Thrash should be. Even though “The Atrocity Exhibition: Exhibit A” received mixed reviews from fans and critics alike with their new focus on writing longer songs, the band seems to think that this is the future of what EXODUS is and thusly they continue on with this format for the second part of the two part album, “Exhibit B: The Human Condition”.
Perhaps it was the band revisiting their debut album for the re-recording “Let There Be Blood”, but “Exhibit B” seems to have a definite more old school Thrash approach to the writing. Don’t mistake that statement as it’s like their debut, because its not, it’s the same essential foundation that was on the first part too. It’s built on those longer songs and riff oriented more modern writing, but it just happens to have a slightly Thrashier tone and a production with a fairly raw approach to it that gives it a slightly older feel. It’s almost as if revisiting their debut lit a fire under their ass for an older sound. It’s an interesting move that may have older fans rejoicing even if it’s just a small element.
It is also nice to hear that the band is progressing as a whole too. Not in their writing so much but in their performances. Rob Dukes is finally starting to come into his own as a Thrash vocalist (note: I still enjoy all his work with the band but its as if the older sound also made him take an older approach to his style) as he takes out a bit of the guttural and moves more to a harsh shouter. He even throws in a few parts that borderline melodic on “Democide” and “Downfall”. Holt seems to have grown with his guitar counterpart Altus as they layer their parts even better on this album than ever before. The band as a whole just seems to be in a better playing place for “Exhibit B”.
Now of course, just with “Exhibit A”, this album is not without its faults. Although the album is still a damn solid Thrash piece of work, it suffers from the same flaw as its predecessor. It’s too damn long at times. Some songs drag on too long and the album runs very long. At times it just sounds too repetitive. If you like the new style of EXODUS, than this album is going to sit well with you, but even for a fan like myself, many of the songs seem to go on a minute or two too long. Some of them make it work like the epic story of “Nanking” or even the Death Metal tinged “The Sun Is My Destoryer”, but others could easily have been cut down to give the album a bit more variety in style. In fact, some of the shorter tracks tend to be highlights like the first single “Hammer And Life” or the mainstream hate song, “Burn, Hollywood, Burn”. It would have been nice to see more follow this style.
“Exhibit B: The Human Condition” is still a great album, one of the best thus far this year, but suffers from a flaw that plagues the band for the last few albums giving it a slight tinge of disappointment to it. It’s an older sound to a newer style of Thrash that makes this one unique from the rest and anyone that enjoyed “Exhibit A” will surely find pleasure in this one too.
Songs to check out: “Class Dismissed (A Hate Primer)”, “The Sun Is My Destroyer”, “Downfall”.
(Online July 1, 2010)