WORDS: Tim Redman
It’s been nearly 30 years since EXODUS came through Birmingham with singer Steve “Zetro” Souza and he’s announced he’s back with a vengeance ahead of tonight’s show. However the band are lacking guitarist and leading member Gary Holt who’s on tour with SLAYER. With a long UK and European tour ahead of them and young Fins LOST SOCIETY as openers, the pressure is all on EXODUS to deliver here tonight.
After an introduction by an enthusiastic compere, local band POLICE BASTARD kicked off tonight’s event. Their brand of D-beat punk going down well with the sparse crowd who’ve made it for doors opening. A dedication to the late-and-great Lemmy got a cheer and the band clearly had stage presence and the musical chops to be playing their own shows in the future, well worth keeping an eye out for.
Young Fins LOST SOCIETY exploded onto the stage in a storm of enthusiasm and long hair, bouncing all over the place and roaring at the audience to move. Unfortunately as a band that’s sold its previous two records on being fast, this performance only really works when they don’t slow down. When the new single I Am the Antidote is played a couple of songs into the set any momentum is lost and you can clearly see the band confused as to why the crowd isn’t as excited as them. This is a band who’s evident enthusiasm and passion for what they do is let down by the material they play, with only the fast tracks having much of an impact. A problem with the sound towards then end of their set doesn’t help them either.
Within second of taking the stage, EXODUS show immediately why they’re considered to be one of the best thrash acts still kicking. Opening with Black 13 the band rips through a couple more recent tracks to a good reaction from the crowd, as the material and performance here deserves. Salt the Wound and Body Harvest in particular are well received. With half the set gone in a mess of sweat, beer and pure manic thrashing from a crowd who seem more than happy to roar every time the band demands it, Zetro announces its time to take the show back to ’85.
The second half of the show comprises a mix of the classic Bonded by Blood material, with the occasional tracks from the 2004 Tempo of the Damned album thrown in. The mix works well showing all the eras of Exodus and it is good to hear how the band manages to work tunes such as War is my Shepard into their set. After a brief break, which no one who has ever attended a show is fooled by anymore, the band re-emerge and blast into the title track Bonded by Blood. With hair, fists and screams going across the venue it is clear the old material is still king. Almost without stopping the band blasts into Toxic Waltz, generating the biggest pit of the night, which is saying something. Closing song Strike of the Beast is a fitting way to end the set and as the band bows out it to cheers. It is shows like this that remind you why thrash and EXODUS have the huge fan-base they do.