Hear ye, hear ye! All gather ‘round because this feller has got a story to tell you. Way back in the 1990’s there was this band combining classic heavy metal groove with some kick-ass thrash riffage, culminating in the rebirth of metal in that decade. That band was the almighty Pantera! *checks script* Wait, that’s not it… Oh, my apologies, this is the new Exhorder album after a 27 year wait! It’s called “Mourn the Southern Skies”, and it’s one kick ass record!
If you don’t know these guys, they’re a groove metal outfit from New Orleans, Louisiana. The band consists of original members Vinnie LaBella and Kyle Thomas (on guitar and vocals respectively), second guitarist Marzi Montazeri (ex-Philip H. Anselmo & the Illegals), bassist Jason Viebrooks (from the band Heathen) and drummer Sasha Horn (of Forbidden fame). In recent times, rumors say that ex-Pantera vocalist Phil Anselmo was accused of ripping off Exhorder singer Kyle Thomas’ vocal style. Other reputable sources claim the opposite. What side do I take? I don’t give a hot damn, I just want to hear some bangers!
Diving in head-first into the album is the mosh-ready thrasher “My Time”. This is exactly the type of song you want to start off a comeback record. Raw, intense, fast and aggressive as all hell. The soloing between Marzi and Vinnie (that by the way could work as a dynamic duo title, Marzi and Vinnie fight some aliens or some shit). To digress, Exhorder can be found trudging through huge grooves found on tracks such as “Asunder” and “Hallowed Point”. This doesn’t last long, because of the banging-your-head-against-the-stage rager “Beware the Wolf”. That aforementioned song has cool drum work from Sasha Horn with subtle inflections during the chorus and pre-solo section, where both Marzi and Vinnie deliver utterly hair-ripping solos straight out of the thrashin’ 80’s. It seems that throughout this album, there is an incredible performance from all members of the band in their respective fields. Sasha and Jason hold down the fort with heavy-as-fuck rhythms, while Marzi and Vinnie really work as a guitar duo. Then there’s what I reckon is the highlight of the album, Kyle Thomas. His soulful-yet-brutal approach to songs such as “Asunder”, “Hallowed Point”, “Rumination” and “Mourn the Southern Skies”.
But some problems arise in this effort which can be seen in “Yesterday’s Bones”, “All She Wrote” and “The Arms of Man”, where the bad songs are really bad, while the good songs are really good. I mean, it’s not “St. Anger” bad, but it trudges at a pace that gets boring without those inflections found on songs like “Asunder”, “Hallowed Point” and my album highlight “Rumination”.
All in all, the album isn’t bad at all, but it doesn’t push many boundaries and can feel dragging too often. But when the passion within the song is felt, nothing can break it. If you don’t know what I mean by that, take a listen to songs like the aforementioned “My Time”, “Asunder” and “Rumination”.
Get some here:
Go visit the band’s website here:
And please support them and other bands on their upcoming tours, we need old school bands to come back like they did!