Exodus, Persona Non Grata (Nuclear Blast 2021)

Thrash luminaries Exodus are back to crack some skulls with their first full-length studio album in seven years, Persona Non Grata.

When I think of thrash metal, Exodus is one of the first bands that pops into my mind. An early purveyor of the art form from their Bay Area perspective, Exodus has released eleven albums over the years, counting the new one, and a barrage of splits, EPs, live albums, and compilations. They are one of my favorite thrash bands and you cannot leave them out of any conversation about heavy music. The band is Gary Holt (guitar), Tom Hunting (drums), Steve Souza (vocals), Jack Gibson (bass), and Lee Altus (guitar).

Persona Non Grata has eleven blazing tracks and an intriguing transition piece. The title track opens the set at high speed in every particular: guitar, bass, and percussion. Steve Souza pushes the vocals to edge of growl and strain, expressing deliberately the theme of the song and the whole album in tone and attitude. The lead break is a power tool pairing that destroys everything in its path. It is a great jump out of the gate.

The music speeds through a path of devastation for the next hour or so, each successive song building on the last. There were three singles released in advance of the full album drop, including “The Beatings Will Continue (Until Morale Improves),” “Clickbait,” and “The Years Of Death And Dying.” Each of these song plants a flag for the album, but you can’t stop there or you’ll miss “Slipping Into Madness,” my personal favorite, and “Lunatic-Liar-Lord,” another one that is high up in the pecking order.

The album resolves on “Antiseed,” a track with a grim lead-in and a slow build that careens into an explosive expression of destruction. What a capper. For me, the new album is even better than the its immediate predecessor, Blood In, Blood Out (2014), and that one was a monster. Get your ears up on this now. Highly recommended.

Persona Non Grata is out today through Nuclear Blast Records. There are many forms to choose from, including the one I picked up, the retro CD longbox. I couldn’t help myself.


Website, https://exodusattack.com/site/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/exodusattack

Nuclear Blast Records, https://shop.nuclearblast.com/en/products/sonstiges/exodus-persona-non-grata-cd-blu-ray-.html

Exodus, Persona Non Grata (Nuclear Blast 2021)

Infex, Burning In Exile (2021)

Bay Area thrash band Infex release their third album, Burning In Exile.

Ten years or so ago Infex started to come together piece by piece. Firmly rooted in the original sin of thrash, the music embraces the concept of speed and the ideals of metal. The band’s first album, Circling the Drain, came out in 2012 and Killing for Jesus followed in 2016. That makes Burning In Exile the charmed one. The band is now Jack (guitar, vocals), Adam (guitar, vocals), RC bass, vocals), and Corey (drums).

Nine crackling tracks make up the set and they all bristle with surging energy. “Blood of the Wicked” is a charging assault delivered at pace with insistent vocals and rollicking percussion. The concentrated guitars on “The Burning” are a potent combination with the singable lyrics – this will be a big hit on tour. “Exiled” builds an impenetrable wall from which to hurl flaming metal missiles and “Acid Reign” is a molten killer, my favorite on the album.

The second side features songs that are a little more succinct and piercing, then wraps the music up with the longest song as the anchor, “7.62.” That final track starts with a dialogue snag from Full Metal Jacket and runs amok with odd-angle constructions and ripping leads. It is definitely a different vibe in this second half but the music is just as hard-edged, precise, and inventive as the opening four. Infex has put out a solid thrash album here. Recommended.

Burning In Exile is out today, Friday the 13th. You can check the band out on YouTube and pick up the album at Bandcamp.


Bandcamp, https://infex.bandcamp.com/

Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Infexthrash/

Infex YouTube, https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCfs2Gp9MZaITOCuODKt2O9w

Infex, Burning In Exile (2021)