Monday, 23 September 2019

ALBUM REVIEW: Exhorder, "Mourn The Southern Skies"

By: Richard Maw

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 20/09/2019
Label: Nuclear Blast


Over the course of ten tracks, the band don't put a foot wrong. It rages, it grooves and  it demonstrates exactly why the band are so revered all these years later. “Mourn The Southern Skies” is a storming and total victory.

“Mourn The Southern Skies” CD//DD//LP track listing:

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

The Review:

Exhorder, the real Exhorder- are back. Those in the know will readily espouse the fact that “Slaughter In The Vatican is one of THE greatest thrash albums. Those who delved deeper will know that follow up “The Law” was just as good and influential. They will also say that in Kyle Thomas, the band had a frontman of the highest calibre with a voice so good that Phil Anselmo took more than just notes on it. 

With good unfriendly violent fun being firmly on the agenda, then, what else can Exhorder offer up all these years after their heyday and now that the band are a lot older and a lot greyer? Well, after twenty seven years... the band is as heavy and aggressive as ever. Thomas' voice has not got any weaker at all- one of metal's best vocalists without a doubt. From the opening fury of “My Time”, the band's light is blazing brighter than ever. There are more groovesome tracks (“Asunder”) and pure speed demons and tracks that combine both- “Hallowed Sound” springs to mind.

Of course, to say that this sounds like nothing else after twenty seven years, countless bands influenced and countless thrash bands who forged their own path would be untrue. It occurred to me that Exhorder here sound like a particularly pissed off and up tempo Testament of the latter day (“The Gathering”) onwards. Naturally, the band also have that Southern swagger and groove that their most famous step child also had and this sets them apart from their Bay Area brethren. Ultimately, though, when thrash is executed so expertly as on “Beware The Wolf “ then you can enjoy this for what it is: one of the best thrash bands of all time making a killer third album decades after it should have even been possible.

Over the course of ten tracks, the band don't put a foot wrong. It rages, it grooves, it demonstrates exactly why the band are so revered all these years later. Thomas' voice on “All She Wrote” is superb. His performance on every track is just incredible. His work with Floodgate, Alabama Thunderpussy and Trouble lifted all those releases and added an extra dimension to two of the bands. His work here is just as good, his life-force undimmed.

The grooves that the band conjure up on “Rumination” are excellent as they are on the slower sections of the album- on “Arms of Man”, for instance. Down the back stretch, you also get the thrash-fest of “Ripping of Flesh” and the more measured and epic title track to close out the show.

If Exhorder never make another record, they will be three for three- three records of exceptional quality with an unwavering commitment to heaviness and aggression. There are not many bands that can lay claim to three excellent albums in a row and no-one I can think of that achieved the feat after a near three decade hiatus. A storming and total victory.

“Mourn The Southern Skies” is available HERE

Band info: facebook