by Martin Popoff

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Fresh Metal

Exodus - Tempo Of The Damned
(Nuclear Blast)

Always one step behind (while ironically ingesting inhuman amounts of speed), Exodus actually have less chequered of a recording record than they are known for: none of their albums suck, and that includes the much derided Force Of Habit. Tempo Of The Damned is the long-anticipated comeback and it is dependably mosh-worthy. Not they had a choice, but I'm glad it's Steve Souza at the mike and not Baloff, Souza's acid twang (circa Bobby Blitz Ellsworth and David Wayne) matching blow for blow the volcanic guitar scrape of Rick Hunolt and Gary Holt, who combine for a pyramid stone sound straight off of Master Of Puppets. The edgy, tribal drum and bass presentation (from Tom Hunting and Jack Gibson respectively) add to the hard and heavy old school values of the thing. And speaking of values, Steve Souza's spitting and spouting some cool socio-political stuff, his turn of phrase adding to the venom of a collection that is surprisingly mid-paced and groovy (biggest blur comes with the Battery-steeped title track). Fine by me... now let's see a tour with labelmates Death Angel.
Rating 8.5

The Duskfall - Source
(Black Lotus)

Source is the second album from this Gates Of Ishtar-connected band from the north of Sweden. It is a record that is indicative of how many great melodic death metal riffs are still out there zipping by like Chinese throwing darts. Actually, The Duskfall (drop the "The" you idiots), use up their best one in the opening seconds of lead track Case Closed but that doesn't mean more of them push deep into this action-packed album (fave track, Striving To Have Nothing, which sounds like In Flames crossed with Rapture). Powerful, wide-angled recording too, although the ferocity of Kai Jaakkola's vocals gets a little tiring after a while. All told though, The Duskfall are as talented as any up the irons on bigger labels like Century Media.
Rating 8.5

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