Released: 2012, End Of The Light Records
Thanks to the small but excellent End Of The Light Records, Exumer’s early material is being given the chance to be rediscovered. This review is a part of this month’s tribute to foundational German thrash metal and Exumer was one of the top bands of the second wave of German thrash bands in the last part of the 80s decade. Originally released in early 1987 on Disaster Records, less than a year after the band’s acclaimed debut POSSESSED BY FIRE , the lineup had already changed for RISING FROM THE SEA. Paul Arakari took over vocals and bass duties from the departed Mem Von Stein but the rest of the band remained intact.
What a difference a year can make. On RISING FROM THE SEA, the band has upped the speed quotient to amphetamine levels, while adding progressive complexity and an overabundance of riffs. No question the band is tighter as a result of the extensive touring they did for the debut. The influence of American thrash is more pronounced as well, considering REIGN IN BLOOD, PEACE SELLS and DARKNESS DESCENDS had all been released about 5- 6 months prior to RISING FROM THE SEA. These albums basically erased the leftover speed metal elements from thrash metal and Exumer also eliminated much of their mid-paced elements. Singer Arakari likewise sounded like Stacy Anderson from Hallows Eve combined with Tom Araya and Billy Milano in places, a less brutal and in many fans opinion, less appealing style. As a result, it takes awhile for some of these songs to sink in, the song writing taking an unfortunate drop in quality. The title track is a highlight, along with “Shadows Of the Past” with a classic opening thrash grind. For Slayer worship, look to “Winds of Death” and a patented Araya scream to open the track. The last two songs on the album before the bonus tracks are borderline SOD copycats, notably the bass opening, guitar riff, and hyper vocal of “Are You Deaf.” Looking back, it is hard to believe they got away with this.
Production wise the drums are recorded much better than the debut, but man the bonus tracks are real stinkers. Is this the same band? All three tracks are from the 1989 demo WHIPS AND CHAINS where most of the original band had long since departed. On a positive note the production quality for these demo tracks is quite listenable, but the band has gone in a completely different musical direction, clearly listening to WAY too much Faith No More, also perhaps catching wind of Mordred and then failing to nail any of the cool metal/funk fusion that those bands pioneered. There are at least three different styles of music in each tune, and whoever is on vocals plain sucks. Skip the bonus tracks.
Ultimately, the passage of time validates the early opinions of the metal world that RISING FROM THE SEA was an inferior but respectable release. There are plenty of technical and impressive pieces, but the songs are not as memorable as the debut. This step backwards for the band did in the end prove to be disastrous, not because the album was all that bad but because bands like Testament , Coroner , Anthrax and Death Angel would all release albums later in 1987, all of which are now considered cornerstones of the genre. These new albums would take thrash metal to new heights of song craft and sophistication and render the lesser tier bands obsolete. This one is recommended for 80s thrash fans and German thrash metal completists.