|Groove Metal, Thrash Metal
Nuclear Blast Records
May 7th, 2010
Release length: 1:14:14
Exhibit B: The Human Condition is not at all a bad album. This release has a lot of positive aspects going for it. There’s plenty of solid tracks with excellent song writing brought in, such as the devestating opening track “The Ballad of Leonard and Charles” as well the following track “Behind the Pale” which features some really haunting guitar work that really makes these tracks stand out from much of the recent Exodus library, as well as feature great guitar solos. “March of the Sycophants”, as well as “Burn, Hollywood, Burn”, great tracks that really bring the classic Thrash fast paced mosh anthem style into the mix to have you banging your head and throwing your fists in the air with riffs that are simply designed to get your blood pumping and make you want to throw down in the nearest mosh pit, or at least create your own wherever you may be. “The Sun is My Destroyer” makes for another good song off the album, though it feels a little weak coming off of some of the more mosh pit oriented tracks that spoil the listener, as well as feel like the song is just being drug along about the time you reach the half way point thanks to the slower chunk that appears which seems to give off a slight Jazz feel to it, especially in the oddly altered guitar sound of the solo right before the music heads back into it’s faster pace. However, the additional of gutteral background vocals on this song really works well with the track and add a bit more bite to it, and leaves you wishing that more tracks had this kind of vocal approach as well since it works out so well for the sound Exodus creates.
Another great thing about this release is the maturing that is taking place. Since Rob Dukes was introduced into the band back in 2005 on Shovel Headed Killing Machine, he has been slowly maturing more into the kind of vocal style necessary for an Exodus release, as well as winning over many fans who just shrugged him off as some cheap Metalcore knock off vocalist. Exhibit B: The Human Condition is honestly one of his finest moments and it really works well with the album to enhance the more modern Thrash sound that the band plays on this release. “Downfall” and “Democide” really show his ability to harmonize his vocals against some more melodic elements, the latter of the two really pushing the limits of what you would expect of him, and “March of the Sycophants” simply sounds amazing with his more rhaspier vocal approach this album, as do the aforementioned starting tracks “The Ballad of Leonard and Charles” and “Behind the Pale” to name a few. However, there are moments on here that sound a bit half-assed, such as “Class Dismissed (A Hate Primer)”, which really just doesn’t come off as his best work and sounds less refined then some of the other tracks on here. And,
But, with all the priase, there unfortunately comes some backlash. The song “Class Dismissed (A Hate Primer)” is a good, anger filled track that also stands out on the album, though not quite in a good way, but more as a rather awkward way due to the lyrical content relating to school shootings and making it really seem as if the only reason these people acted on these urges was because they weren’t hugged enough. Musically the song is good and really hits with just begs have you take your aggression out on the nearest thing, but leaves you wanting more in the long run, so it’s a hit or miss track depending on how you view the general feeling of the song’s meaning, which is rarely something that should be taken into count when it comes to enjoying a song. Aside that, some of the guitars used on this album ultimately just sound out of place, like the introductory riffs on the track “Downfall”, which really don’t work with the signature Exodus guitars and can often come off as more upbeat then some of the war riddled atmospheric riffs and sounds that adorn through the album, causing this track to clash with the entire album thanks to it’s simple Melodic Death Metal guitar hooks at the start and during each chorus. This track, as well as the random instrumental “A Perpetual State of Indifference” don’t do anything for the album except tack on time, and could have both been omitted from the final cut of the album to help the flow of the album.
It appears that Exodus had taken Exhibit B: The Human Condition as a more experimental album for the band’s sound, which is sad since there’s a lot of musical progression on the album that really could have made this release on of the best Exodus releases in the past few years. Instead, we’re given an album that has some very impressive music, easily some of the most stand out music the band has recorded for a good while, and a collection of tracks that really don’t seem to fit the tone of the album laid out at the start, even showing off influences from other bands such as a rather conflicting almost carbon-copy guitar structure of recent Shadows Fall, as well as some shades of Testament that can heard throughout the album. This still isn’t an album to pass up, but isn’t really worth the full price as maybe two thirds the album is quality material with a high replay factor, and the rest will just be skipped over on future spins.
01. The Ballad of Leonard and Charles – 7:14
02. Beyond the Pale – 7:40
03. Hammer and Life – 3:31
04. Class Dismissed (A Hate Primer) – 7:14
05. Downfall – 6:21
06. March of the Sycophants – 6:45
07. Nanking – 7:22
08. Burn, Hollywood, Burn – 4:05
09. Democide – 6:36
10. The Sun is My Destroyer – 9:32
11. A Perpetual State of Indifference (Instrumental) – 2:24
12. Good Riddance – 5:30
|Initial Pressing Score: 6/10