|Exumer - 'Fire And Damnation' (Metal Blade)|
|Written by Jim Rowland|
|Wednesday, 18 April 2012 05:25|
Back in '87 at the height of the thrash boom, I attended a gig at a venue in Hammersmith called The Clarendon (as with Spinal Tap's 'Electric Banana', don't look for it, it's not there anymore!). If my memory serves me correctly the headliners that day were a young and quite fantastic Death Angel. Still to this day though, I have a vivid memory of the opening band that night, a band that totally thrilled my thrash taste buds. That was a German band called Exumer, delivering a blisteringly brutal set that reminded me very much of Slayer. I was so impressed, I immediately hotfooted it down to Shades, a West End specialist Metal record shop (also not there anymore) to purchase Exumer's then current second album 'Rising From The Sea'. Unfortunately, that album's immensely poor production made the band sound like a limp lettuce leaf compared to the awesome ferocity of their live set. Consequently, the album eventually went down to my local second hand record exchange (a decision I now sorely regret) and that was the last I saw or heard of Exumer, although I never quite forgot them. They lasted a couple more years, released no more albums, and eventually split in 1990.
Well what do you know? It's 2012 and the guys at Uber HQ have pushed my way a brand new album from a reformed Exumer, 24 years after that last album that so disappointed me. Is this finally going to be the Exumer album that I was looking for all those years ago? Hell yeah! It certainly is!
Forget about crappy productions, 'Fire & Damnation' contains 10 relentless slabs of top notch old school thrash metal that jump out of those speakers, grab you by the throat and give you a brutal beating. The Slayer influence is still very much there, the production is superb and the band sound on top form. There's not too much in the way of variety here, this is heads down, no nonsense brutal old school thrash metal from start to finish, with the likes of 'A New Morality', 'The Weakest Limb' and the outstanding (& brilliantly titled) 'Vermin Of The Sky' evoking the spirit of those glory days of the 80's thrash metal movement.
This new version of Exumer sees original founder member Ray Mensch (guitar) reunited with original vocalist Mem Von Stein, who only featured on the band's 1986 debut album 'Possessed By Fire'. Von Stein's vocals actually give the album a bit of a hardcore punk feel in places too, none more so that on the vicious 'I Dare You'.
I'm genuinely thrilled to see this band back, and I'm also thrilled that they've finally delivered that Exumer album I was looking for all those years ago, one that does them justice. Quite simply, 'Fire & Damnation' is the best new thrash metal album I've heard in recent years. Let's hope they make it over to the UK at some point, so that I can relive that night in Hammersmith all over again.