WORDS: Tim Redman
EXUMER are in some ways what Thrash fans wish all of the smaller name Thrash bands were. The Teutonic band have two solid albums in the 80s followed by a long period of inactivity and a triumphant return with 2012’s Fire & Damnation rather than the decent into mediocracy that plagued many of their peers who soldiered on into the 90s. Now the band have recorded a follow up to their return, but does it hold up to the high standards the band have set themselves until this point?
The album opens with the title track The Raging Tides and from the off your aware of what kind of album this is going to be. Powerful Thrashy riffs at a rapid pace, coupled with vocalist Mem Von Stein’s aggressive delivery show that none of the old fire has left this band. The second track on offer here is Brand Of Evil. With a riff to get your head banging as well as solo’s that make up the second half of the track this song shows just how skilled the song writing on offer here is. This song wouldn’t sound out of place on any of the genre’s classic records. Following on from that is Catatonic. A slightly slower track in comparison, but by no means bad. The chorus is built to be shouted along with and the song will no doubt make its way into live sets as a fan favourite.
The fourth track on the album is Sacred Defence which rips its way through its three minute running time in the blink of an eye with no let-up in the pace. A fast thrashy number. Welcome To Hellfire follows on with lyrics inspired by the human rights abuses in Nigeria. A slower period in the middle of the track has a slightly more groove section, before kicking it back up into overdrive. Sinister Souls makes excellent use of gang shouts in its choruses as it speeds along allowing Von Stein’s snarl to be used to its full effectiveness.
Shadow Walker starts off slower than the remainder of the tracks on the album taking its time to build into it, rather than the kick-the-door-in approach taken elsewhere. Inspired by the deception of the devout for personal gain, it’s the perfect example of how well the music and vocals work together here and showcases the quality of the musicianship on offer. There Will Always Be Blood is another song that speeds right along without losing any of the aggression or skill EXUMER are displaying on this album. The penultimate track here is Dark Reflections which has another classic Thrash riff running through its centre guaranteed to get your head moving. The album closer Death Factory is the shortest of the original songs on offer here. It rages along at a good pace with gang shouts and solid riffs backed by the dependable rhythm section who have kept the entire album pounding along.
The album also features two bonus cover tracks. The first of these is a brilliantly executed cover of PENTAGRAM’s Forever My Queen. Taking a doom rock classic and turning it into a mi-paced thrash song is impressive in itself and the end result is impressive. Unfortunately the second cover of GRIP INC’s Hostage To Heaven is mediocre compared to the remainder of the original material that EXUMER offer here.
This is a really good album. EXUMER have managed to outdo themselves with The Raging Tides. Refusing to fall into the trap of slowing down or resting on their laurels the band has instead put together ten songs that if they had been released in Thrash’s heyday would have been a true classic of the genre. This is the mark on which reunited bands should be judged because it doesn’t get much better than this!
The Raging Tides is set for release on January 29th via Metal Blade Records.