Released: 2005, Nuclear Blast
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
How do you review a band that is one of your favorites...a band that you have listened to since they started out? Exodus has had both their ups and downs and some albums have been pretty bad so I guess I can make a fair judgement of SHOVEL HEADED KILL MACHINE. This new album is their 10th one since the debut in 1985 (BONDED BY BLOOD) which is a classic debut album. The band went through some difficult years in the 90’s and had their big come back last year with TEMPO OF THE DAMNED - an album that must be one of the best come back albums of this decade!
There have been several changes in the line-up, the only remaining members from the last album is the bass player Jack Gibson and original member Gary Holt. New singer Rob Dukes is well known from the Bay Area (Heathen). There is also new drummer Paul Bostaph (Forbidden, Slayer). Gary continues to deliver old school thrash metal bay area style. This album sounds angrier than TEMPO OF THE DAMNED because it’s faster, aggressive, technical with more tempo changes throughout the songs. The album clocks in on about 50 minutes and during that time have the guys delivered 10 furious tracks. Exodus delivers a solid thrash album that knocks down anyone that doubted what would happen. It’s impossible to pick any one killer track because all of the songs are extremely well structured and worked through, it feels like this time they have overdone themselves.
Paul delivers a varied and a totally blistering drum performance and along with heavy bass parts and a stunning guitar playing including razor sharp and aggressive guitar duels between Gary and Lee makes the production sound totally awesome. Rob impresses on this his first deed with the band and he varies between angry/aggressive vocals to a slightly more ordinary singing style. The new members do an incredible job but I think that fans might still miss the older members from TEMPO OF THE DAMNED, but give these new members a chance anyway!
Even though I’m a huge fan of the band, there is the big question if it’s right to call the band Exodus when there is just one original member left. Regarding that thought, this album could split Exodus fans into two sides. On one side we have the older fans that’s going to think that the new singer Rob sounds far too alike the old singer Steve and wonder, like me, if it’s right to call the band Exodus. On the other side we going to have the newer fans that’s only genuine happy to hear a new album by their heroes. Exodus is preparing to head out on tour in both America and Europe during November and December. SHOVEL HEADED KILL MACHINE is going to come in high on my list of 2005 best albums and this one is also one of the better thrash albums so far this year.