Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Album Review: Exhorder - Mourn the Southern Skies

Mourn the Southern Skies
*** out of *****

One of the originators of  groove metal Exhorder have returned with their first studio album in over twenty seven years.  While it has been an obscenely long absence the band still plays with burning aggression and bone slamming power.

Only two original members remain in the current lineup as lead singer Kyle Thomas and lead Guitarist (and album producer) Vinny LaBella anchor things as guitarist Marzi Montazeri (Superjoint Ritual and Philip H. Anselmo & The Illegals), bassist Jason Viebrooks (Heathen, Grip Inc.), and drummer Sasha Horn (Forbidden) join up for this go around.

Staring with the perhaps the hardest quit your job song ever recorded "My Time" ups the thrash metal ante and lets every listener know that Exhorder has still got it. "Asunder" deals with family love/hate while the most main stream metal "Hallowed Sound" speaks to Southern reliance. Thomas' vocal style is clean and direct, unlike others in this field and his lyrics play with poetic images and interesting phrasing (how many metal lyricists incorporate Laissez-faire and vestiges in back to back lines?) while keeping the fuck you's and screams of aggression.

"Rumination" reminds of what the band does best while "The Arms of Man" stirs the sludge as the hyperactive "Ripping Flesh" and "Beware of the Wolf" kick up the dust and din with galloping drums and thrash metal goodness.

"Yesterday's Bones" mixes things up by stretching out, starting with chugging groove metal guitars before melodic solos and a full on theatrical ending complete with swelling organs and acoustic strings. Along with the extended closing title track which toys with mixing up levels of power and aggression, the group is expanding its sound while remaining true to their roots.

While no song jumps out as must hear, Mourn The Southern Skies is a unexpected comeback but a damn good one as the band who helped start a genre and never really found success now seems poised to the reap some late career benefits.
Support the band, buy the record and peep some video below:

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