The sixth full-length studio album by the legendary American Thrash Metal band.
Released in early 2004, "Tempo Of The Damned" is Exodus' first studio release since 1992's "Force Of Habit". It's also the last release with appearance of longtime vocalist Steve "Zetro" Souza until his return for 2014's "Blood In, Blood Out" as well as the last appearance of founding drummer Tom Hunting until 2007's "The Atrocity Exhibition... Exhibit A". The album also has the last studio appearance of guitarist Rick Hunolt.
Given up for dead over a decade earlier, the mighty Exodus - the original kings of Thrash Metal - made an unexpected but long-rumored return with this album. But what had been intended as a long-awaited reunion of their seminal "Bonded By Blood" lineup was tragically thwarted with the sudden death of vocalist Paul Baloff in early 2002. Fittingly, Baloff was duly supplanted by none other than Steve "Zetro" Souza, the man who'd replaced him in the first place and who had gone on to sing on every Exodus album thereafter, including their mid-period Thrash classic "Fabulous Disaster". Of course the fact that Souza was clearly the better and more reliable vocalist should not be overlooked, and with the welcome involvement of long-gone founding drummer Tom Hunting, "Tempo Of The Damned" still serves as quite the family reunion. It also doesn't disappoint musically, picking up the pieces right where the band's star-crossed career had fallen apart 11 years earlier with the underrated "Force Of Habit", and turning in a performance that is, at once, vintage Exodus and mindful of modern recording standards as well. All of the old, much loved Exodus hallmarks are here: lyrics filled with biting, sarcastic social commentary; no-fuss, jagged Thrash Metal; and unparalleled technical precision.
As has always been the case, it's the dazzling six-string tag team of Rick Hunolt and Gary Holt (quite simply the tightest rhythm guitar duo in the history of Thrash Metal) that truly drives the Exodus bullet train over lightning runs like "Scar Spangled Banner" and the wonderfully retro-named "Impaler". Their solos are as musical as the riffing is not, and, as heard on excellent examples like "Shroud of Urine" and "Forward March", always typified by inventiveness without excess pyrotechnics.
Taken as a whole, "Tempo Of The Damned" successfully resurrects Exodus as the potent and formidable Thrash Metal machine of old. The fact that they are well aware of their strengths, and content to stick with them to the end, is what makes this such a welcome release for the band's loyal followers, as well as younger fans looking to understand what got Heavy Metal where it is today.
Founding guitarist Kirk Hammett was accredited for a song "Impaler"!
Nuclear Blast GmbH, 2004 (NB 1218-2). Made in Germany. First press.
1. Scar Spangled Banner 6:39
2. War Is My Shepherd 4:25
3. Blacklist 6:15
4. Shroud Of Urine 4:50
5. Forward March 7:34
6. Culling The Herd 6:05
7. Sealed With A Fist 3:34
8. Throwing Down 4:59
9. Impaler 5:23
10. Tempo Of The Damned 4:18
Total playing time: 54:02