Released: Oct 14, 2014
Genre: Thrash Metal
Label: Nuclear Blast
Number Of Tracks: 11
This is the tenth studio album by Exodus and it features some interesting guest musicians, including Kirk Hammett who was one of the original guitarists of the band.
Blood In, Blood OutFeatured review by: UG Team, on october 22, 2014 3 of 4 people found this review helpful
Sound: When Exodus initially formed in 1980, Kirk Hammett was a big part of the band - with the name of the band actually coming from him, though he only recorded one demo tape with the band, and left shortly after to join Metallica. By this time, the other founding guitarist from the band, Tim Agnello, had left the band and been replaced by Gary Holt - who, to many fans, has become the face of Exodus, being the only member to appear on every album released by the band. Kirk Hammett's vacancy was eventually filled by Rick Hunolt, though he too left the band in 2005 and was replaced by Lee Altus. "Blood In, Blood Out" also shows the return of Zetro on vocals for the first time since 2004. "Blood In, Blood Out" is the tenth studio album by the band and has 11 tracks with a runtime of just over 62 minutes. The digital edition that I am reviewing has a cover of "Angel of Death" by Angel Witch included, which puts the album right at 67 minutes. Nine of the eleven songs on the album (not counting the bonus track) were written by Gary Holt, and with the other two, "Honor Killings" was written by Lee Altus, and "Body Harvest" was written by Zetro, Jack Gibson and Lee Altus. Dan The Automator guests on "Black 13," Kirk Hammett guests on "Salt the Wound" and Chuck Billy (of Testament) guests on "BTK."
The album opens up with the track "Black 13," which features Dan The Automator as a guest on the track, and has an immediate industrial techno vibe to it without sacrificing any heaviness. The second track is the title track, "Blood In, Blood Out," which has a very retro thrash metal sound/vibe to it, including gang vocals. The lyrics deal with some themes from the old days of thrash, maybe subtly broaching the injustice of being left out of the "Big 4" and pointing out they've stayed true to the genre. "Collateral Damage" opens up with a pounding drum and little short guitar runs, and shows Zetro using a slightly beefier vocal attack than on most of the album. "Salt the Wound" has one of the catchiest riffs from the album and one of the most discernible basslines, as well as guest guitar soloing from Kirk Hammett - and it is pretty much standard fare from Kirk Hammett (his solos are almost like his signature at this point in his career). "Body Harvest" is one of the most straightforward heavy thrash metal songs I've heard in quite a while, with backing vocals screaming "Bo-dy Harvest!" during the chorus. "BTK" features Chuck Billy of Testament providing some guest vocals on the track, which seems to be based off of the serial killer known as the "BTK Killer" by the media. "Wrapped in the Arms of Rage" has an almost "Flight of the Bumblebee" type of vibe in the intro, but it breaks into a groove-heavy riff and goes somewhere different pretty quickly. "My Last Nerve" is another solid track, and contains some of my favorite guitar parts, including a solo that does a great job mixing energy and melody. "Numb" is an interesting song, kind of exploring how modern society is causing the songwriter to become disassociated with reality. "Honor Killings" is a little different than the other songs on the album, as it was written by Lee Altus as his only solo written track. The song definitely goes about exploring the concept of honor killing. "Food for the Worms" is up next, and is the closing track of the standard edition of the album. The track does some interesting things, and definitely is reminiscent of the older style of thrash metal from the '80s. The bonus track on the digital edition of the album, "Angel of Death," is a cover of the song originally written and recorded by Angel Witch which is the only song on the album featuring clean vocals to a large extent, with Zetro only coming in with screamed vocals during parts of the chorus. At the end of the day I really enjoyed this album - from a mixing standpoint it seemed like the bass would have sounded exceptional if it was just a nudge higher in the mix, but I've got where I really like to hear the bass thundering in my metal. // 8
Lyrics: Zetro has technically been on more Exodus albums than any other vocalist, appearing on six of the ten albums, and his voice has become synonymous with Exodus over that time. No disrespect to Rob Dukes, but I know I prefer Zetro on vocals, even if it is for partially nostalgic reasons. Zetro is one of the high pitched metal vocalists that I can actually enjoy, and he uses his voice to great effect on "Blood In, Blood Out." This is potentially one of my favorite albums from the band in a long time as it is continuing to grow on me more with each listen - in large part due to Zetro's return. From the title track, "Blood In, Blood Out": "We're throwing down the gauntlet/ chomping at the bit about to lay down the law/ show you all the way/ bare witness to genesis/ of the violence the way it was back in the day/ we're veen here from the start with a one track mind/ we kept the hate alive/ always had the power, now is zero hour/ tonight we're gonna fight like it's 1985/ blood in, blood out/ all I'm telling you is do anything you wanna do/ blood in, blood out/ this is a f--king dynasty of trash notoriety/ dive in or bow out/ if you have the pedigree, welcome to the family/ all in or all out/ half way, no way, give it all you've got/ we wrote the book so you better know the plot/ new breed, old creed/ let's see what you brought/ this sh-t has turned into a rout/ blood in, blood out." The lyrics kind of read like a celebration of all that thrash metal stands for, including the clichés that have grown up with the genre. // 7
Overall Impression: I haven't really listened to much of the more modern Exodus until recently, and realized that I've been missing out. On the surface, and granted I've just kind of "browsed" their recent releases, it appears that "Blood In, Blood Out" may be one of their best albums in 2 decades. I can't wait to see what they continue to do in the future, and I can't help but find myself impressed with Gary Holt and Jack Gibson. Having Zetro back was definitely a bonus, as well. My favorite songs from the album would almost certainly be "Numb," "My Last Nerve" and "Food for the Worms." I didn't really dislike any songs from the album, it is an overall strong effort by the band. // 8