Reviewed: January 2022
Released: November 2021, Nuclear Blast
Reviewer: Buddy H
Certain people are put on this Earth to do certain things. Some are called to be doctors. Some are called to be teachers. Some are called to be musicians. Thankfully, for us metalheads, Gary Holt was put on this Earth to do one thing and one thing only: lead one of the patriarchs of Bay Area thrash metal and write some of the finest, bone-crunching music known to man! After a lengthy seven year hiatus, Exodus finally return with their latest offering, PERSONA NON GRATA.
The phrase persona non grata is Latin for “an unwelcome person or persons.” This is an aptly titled album for some people. If you don’t want wall-to-wall, soul-crushing guitars and searing lead work in your music, then Gary Holt and fellow guitarist Lee Altus are persona non grata. If you don’t want an absolutely pulverizing bottom-end rhythm section in your music, then bassist Jack Gibson and drummer Tom Hunting are persona non grata. Lastly, if you don’t want venomous, snarling, rabid vocals in your music, then Steve “Zetro” Souza is definitely persona non grata!
It’s usually not a very good sign when bands take such a long time between releases. A lot of times, it signifies that the creative well has run dry, and the inevitable end of the band is drawing near. This is most certainly NOT the case here. Exodus sound refreshed, rejuvenated, motivated, and downright hungry! They play as if it were 1985, and have something to prove. The album opens with the ferocious title track, complete with all the trademark Exodus fury we have all come to know and love. The bludgeoning riff fest is relentless and continues throughout the entire album. Brutal goodness hits in the form of “R.E.M.F.”, “Slipping Into Madness”, “The Beatings Will Continue (Until Morale Improves)”, and the godly thrashterpieces “The Years Of Death And Dying”, “Clickbait”, and “The Fires Of Division”.
This album makes a bold statement right from the start: Exodus are alive and well in 2021 and thrashing as hard as ever. This savage collection is delivered with the fire and fury of a starving up-and-coming band looking to sign that first elusive record deal. If you haven’t visited the Exodus camp in a while, get back immediately. A magnificent unyielding modern thrash metal beating awaits you! Sneaking in just before year’s end, this has to be considered a top release of 2021!
1. Persona Non Grata
3. Slipping into Madness
5. Prescribing Horror
6. The Beatings Will Continue (Until Morale Improves)
7. The Years of Death and Dying
9. Cosa del Pantano
11. The Fires of Division
Steve “Zetro” Souza – Vocals
Gary Holt – Lead and Rhythm Guitars
Lee Altus – Lead and Rhythm Guitars
Jack Gibson – Bass
Tom Hunting – Drums