Shovel Headed Kill Machine
10/5/2005 - Review by: Eric Compton
Exodus - Shovel Headed Kill Machine - 2005 - Nuclear Blast
Few can match this band's intensity and energy level, possibly their only rival being the recordings of New Jersey's Overkill and Metallica's live firepower. Beyond that, well there is just simply no contest, no match for this bashing, battering, blasting amount of face front thrashing mayhem. Exodus are back in the spotlight again, enjoying much success with their 2003 offering "Tempo Of The Damned". A lot of changes have taken place in the camp since then, the most evident being the dreaded "changing of the frontman". Steve Souza moves on, replaced by the rather generic Rob Dukes, a singer who sounds a bit like Phil Anselmo crossed with Souza. His voice does little to really add any type of identity to the band. I enjoyed Souza's work with the group and found his voice classy and full of authority. Dukes just seems to go through the motions, but he does it with a ton of energy and aggression, leaving the band with enough vocal intensity to match the metal machine rolling forward. Drummer Tom Hunting has been replaced by the famous Paul Bostaph, known for his work with Forbidden and most recently Slayer. Guitarist Lee Altus comes on board to replace Rick Hunolt, with his prior duties spent with Heathen and Angel Witch. The only remaining members from the group's last effort is founder/axe-slinger Gary Holt and bassist Jack Gibson.
The band's thrash dominance is still in effect here, and little change has been made in regards to the band's winning formula. The huge, fat grooves are still in place (see "Deathamphetamine" and "Shudder To Think") and the fast, quick attack riffs the band have built their success on (see the play on words of "Altered Boy"). The songwriting is still wicked and off-beat, showing us the darker side of humanity through perverse humor. Production wise the control panel is still "fiddled" with by mastermind Andy Sneap, who in my humble opinion is the best damn producer in the business. Teaming up this "sound" genius with an experienced, powerful band like Exodus and you get a lethal, furious soundscape from which aggression and anger can take root. It works well with Exodus and with this album they reinforce the fact that they are without a shadow of a doubt the best modern thrash band of our current time. The only thing that can change that? Blitz hire Sneap.
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