Exodus – Bonded By Blood

Exodus – Bonded By Blood (1985)

If you think you know everything there is to know about metal – think again. Greatly underrated and commonly looked over, “Bonded by Blood” is probably the most important thrash record of the 1980s, and is one of the most perfect ever recorded. What’s that? METALLICA invented thrash?! If you think Metallica deserves all the credit for the thrash movement, then think again as you are gravely mistaken. While they were definitely the most important band in terms of pioneering the movement, they absolutely did not “create” thrash metal. Besides the actions of bands like Judas Priest (providing prototypes like “Exciter” and “Rapid Fire”) thrash metal was pretty much nonexistent until the early 80s. Exodus predated Metallica by at least a year and were writing a more visceral form of thrash while metallica played the club circuit. Don’t be fooled by Kirk Hammett’s recent claims in the “Get Thrashed” documentary that Metallica was the first thrash band (the smell of all that green must have finally gotten to his head. Who knew that shit was toxic?).

The FACT of the matter is that “Bonded By Blood” is the greatest and most important thrash debut of the 80s, second only to Metallica’s “Kill ‘Em All” (Yes it is better than “Show No Mercy” and “Peace Sells”). While I do believe wholeheartedly that Metallica’s debut is the better album, Bonded by Blood is much more consisten thrash record. Sure Kill Em All has more of a bottom end, but there are some slower, more chuggier moments on it (No Remorse, Seek and Destroy, Jump In the Fire). If you’re looking for thrash, and I mean THRASH, SPEED, FURY – then “Bonded By Blood” is definitely the record for you. The reason that this album often gets overlooked is because of the old adage – “It’s all about being in the right place at the right time”. Exodus’ demo tapes didn’t have boasting rights of tapes such as “No Life ‘Till Leather” and as a result they were not signed as quickly as other groups. Also, Bonded By Blood was recorded and ready to go by 1984, which would have pushed Exodus to the forefront of the thrash movement. Instead, record company problems held the release back until 1985. By that time, thrash bands were coming out of the woodwork like termites and Exodus was lumped in with a bunch of B – level bands and knockoffs. As a result, this album is sadly overlooked and disregarded while it should be put up on a pedestal next to “Kill ‘Em All”.

Now to the music. This album proceeds to rip your head off right from the start with the title track. Laced with solos and riffs provided by Gary Holt and Rick Hunolt, there is not a dull moment on this album. Just listen to the beginning of “And Then There Were None”. If that doesn’t make you want to kick your girlfriend’s poodle, then you need to go back to pop section of your record store, pansy boy. Songs like “A Lesson In Violence”, “Bonded by Blood” and “Exodus” show that Exodus can beat Slayer at their own high speed game. Highlights include “Strike of the Beast” (make sure you put your horns in the air as this riff fest blasts through your speakers!), “Metal Command” and “Piranha”. Metal command is a particularly enjoyable track, sporting some pretty impressive lead work from the “H-team”. “Piranha” is just an absolute riff fest, and it is perfect mosh-pit fodder. Be sure to crank it up at :26 when the band locks into a solid, hard groove. “No Love” is also pretty cool, sporting an acoustic intro that leads into pretty much the heaviest riff on the album. By the time 2:30 seconds comes around your neck will be so sore from head banging your head will probably fall off!

Even though this is a great album it does have its flaws. The weakest part of this album by far is singer Paul Baloff. He is absolutely one of the most horrible vocalists I have ever heard (All you Exodus fans stop whining, you know I’m right). Some of the lyrics and song titles are just ridiculously stupid and silly as well. Piranha? Some fish with little sharp pointy teeth? Is that supposed to be scary? Metal Command? Come on give me a break… that is the corniest name for a song I’ve ever heard. I almost have visions of manowar prancing around like a bunch of he-man knockoffs.

Even though the flaws do exist, they are not so prominent as to take away form the main focus of this album – the riffs! Next time you run into Gary Holt you can bow in his presence because unlike most of his peers, he is still going full throttle in 2008 and is currently supporting the best music he has ever written. If you’re into heavy metal you owe it to yourself to get your hands on this record. Otherwise you’re just following the crowd.

Rating – 8.8/10

Review by Bluto

1. Bonded by Blood
2. Exodus
3. And Then There Were None
4. A Lesson In Violence
5. Metal Command
6. Piranha
7. No Love
8. Deliver Us To Evil
9. Strike of the Beast

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~ by Justin on April 6, 2008.

2 Responses to “Exodus – Bonded By Blood”

  1. So very true man. Great review!

    EXODUS ATTACK! 😀

  2. HAha thanks for agreeing with me!

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