CD review EXHORDER “Mourn the Southern Skies’

(9/10) While everybody talks about the return of Tool and their new album it’s other Metal pioneers that return after having faced an even longer hiatus. Prog Metal legends Heir Apparent released a new album end of last year, Possessed followed and also Thrash Metal icons Sacred Reich unleashed a new longplayer after decades of studio absence. Now it’s Louisiana-based riff grinders Exhorder having a new longplayer in the starting blocks, the fist one in 27 years.  

Exhorder’s sophomore album ‘The Law’ was released in 1992 and nearly three decades later the anticipated new album finally finds its way to the record shops. “Hope dies last” is what Exhorder fans had as a mindset over the last decades and everybody will be rewarded by a mind-smashing new album of the New Orleans powerhouse. 

Thanks to willpower of founding members Kyle Thomas and Vinnie LaBella Exhorder was revitalized. The line-up is completed by Jason Viebrooks, Sasha Horn and Marzi Montazeri and it’s this quintet that recorded an excellent modern Thrash Metal album with roots in the early ‘90s.  

Exhorder is still Exhorder although time didn’t stand still and the bandwidth of Exhorder 2019 manifests itself very well at the end of the album. One of the best songs on the album is entitled ‘Ripping Flesh’. With three minutes running time this face-melting Metal tornado doesn’t take any pioneers. This smasher is right on the money and there are neither frills nor distracting gimmicks. The song’s pure Metal with high speed and no mercy.

The total opposite comes with the title track that closes the album. ‘Mourn the Southern Skies’ starts acoustic and slowly evolves to a snail-pace Metal monster. Crowbar comes to me mind right away, but also Doom Metal is a source of inspiration, not forgetting the fact of frontman Kyle Thomas being also a member of legendary Trouble.

The other eight songs are positioned somewhere in between these poles. The opener ‘My Time’ is a brutal Thrash Metal track and ‘Beware the Wolf’ doesn’t have a foot on the brake either. The typical Exhorder groove returns with ‘Yesterday’s Bones’ before a next riff assault follows with ‘All She Wrote’ One song can’t really compete though with the rest. ‘Arms of Man’ is a slo-mo song, not a too bad one but a bit lengthy after a while.

To conclude: ‘Mourn the Southern Skies’ is the next glorious return of a legendary band, an album that ends decades of basically radio silence. Exhorder’s third album builds on the early roots, includes the trademarks and still shows an evolvement over time. Very well-done and hopefully the guys will get the attention they deserve.

Tracklist:

  1. My Time
  2. Asunder
  3. Hallowed Sound
  4. Beware the Wolf
  5. Yesterday’s Bones
  6. All She Wrote
  7. Rumination
  8. Arms of Man
  9. Ripping Flesh
  10. Mourn the Southern Skies

Label: Nuclear Blast

Genre: Thrash Metal

Release Date EU: September 20th 2019

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