Exumer – Fire & Damnation

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Review by Jason Guest

If thrash from the late 80s is what you are a hankerin’ after, then Teutonic thrash titans Exumer’s third album, Fire & Damnation, will be right up your rudimentary. The opening title track is the embodiment of thrash: rapid riffs, rabid vocals, and angry drums, all pumelling the crap out of you at a ruthless pace. Suffice it to say however, when you’ve suffered the pounding intensity of this impressive track, there’s little left in the way of surprises for the duration of the album.

But that doesn’t mean that the standard wanes one iota. Forget about melody, clean singing, or blast beats, it’s just quality thrash all the way. The riffs are barbed, the lead work intense, the drums direct, and the vocals acerbic. Where the repetition in structure and in riffs was no doubt intended to be interpreted as relentless, it can become tedious as the album proceeds and a case of déjà vu does tend to creep in. But this flaw is outweighed by the quality of each track and even more-so by their potency.

And the performances are, collectively and individually, of the kind of quality you’d expect from a thrash band that were there at the beginning. In fact, it’s as if Exumer are still back in 1987 where we last heard from them, churning out thrash tracks that are just vicious in their intensity. The main difference between then and now is the production, so where their first two albums suffered, here Exumer can be heard in their gruesome glory, thankfully so. The re-recorded versions of ‘Fallen Saint’ from their 1986 debut album, Possessed By Fire, and ‘I Dare You’ from their sophomore album, Rising From The Sea, are both standout tracks that benefit from the quality of the production and show how potent Exumer were the first time around.

With the retro “thrash revival” scene still holding its own, Exumer’s album has arrived at the point where bands such as Evile and Warbringer have set the standard for quality thrash. As with Onslaught’s recent return to form with Violence (their second album since their reformation in 2004), it may be Exumer’s next offering that marks their triumphant return. 25 years is a long time to wait for an album that sounds its age but Fire & Damnation stands as a fine thrash album that will please many a long-time devotee and turn the heads of many of the new bunch of thrash maniacs out there. A more-than-welcome return.

7 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Fire & Damnation
  2. Vermin Of The Sky
  3. The Weakest Limb
  4. New Morality
  5. Waking The Fire
  6. Fallen Saint
  7. Crushing Point
  8. Devil Chaser
  9. I Dare You
  10. Tribal Furies

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