Exodus - Shovel Headed Kill Machine
Nuclear Blast
Thrash Metal
10 songs (53:10)
Release year: 2005
Exodus, Nuclear Blast
Reviewed by Jeff

When Exodus released the nearly perfect masterpiece “Tempo of the Damned” back in 2004, they proved that they could still take what they started over 20 years ago and improve upon it tenfold. Over the passage of time, Exodus has been one of the few Bay Area thrash bands to stay true to their roots. They finally seemed to be back on track with the release of “Tempo of the Damned”, setting the bar high for themselves. With that being said, my expectations for “Shovel Headed Kill Machine” were even higher. After listening to this album several times, I must say that I’m having a hard time trying to like it. I’m also feeling somewhat let down.

Until recently, Exodus once again found themselves as a band in transition. Gary Holt is the only original member left. Steve “Zetro” Souza has joined and departed from the band few times within the last five years. He is now replaced by Rob Dukes. Drummer Tom Hunting was involved in the Angelwitch reincarnation but still played on the "Tempo of the Damned" album, only to call it quits once again due to recurring health problems. He has since been replaced by Paul Bostaph (Forbidden, ex-Slayer). Long time guitarist Rick Hunolt departed the band prior to the current album recordings because of family commitments and has since been replaced by another well known Bay Area axe shredder, Lee Altus (ex-Heathen).

Shovel Headed Kill Machine” is probably the best produced Exodus album to date. It has top of the line recording techniques, courtesy of producer of Andy Sneap. The mix is perfect between all the instruments and vocals. You can hear everything without one thing over powering the other. In fact, it’s too good for an album of thrash; a genre that is raw in its form and power. The tempos range from freight train collision course speed to some mid tempo ones.

I don’t remember an Exodus album being this angry and aggressive since “Bonded By Blood”. Rob Dukes vocal style can best be described as follows: a mix between a more gruff and sore throat version of Souza, yet a more vocally controlled clone of Baloff (R.I.P.), but with a more modern thrash, death metal style like Chuck Schuldiner (R.I.P.). There are plenty of cool guitar riffs and drum patterns. However, I don’t find the songs as memorable on this release. It’s straight ahead thrash. Not one song sticks out to the point that I can go back to the CD and pick out a track that brings something to the table for me personally. This album is taking much longer to sink in and I’m not sure how long it will take or if it will ever sink in at all. I feel that Souza added some melody to the thrash songs when belting it out at the mic, something that is missing from this release when it comes to the vocal dept. At times this album reminds me of Demolition Hammer releases such as “Tortured Existence” and “Epidemic of Violence”.

I think this album will still find a place among the ears of die hard thrash fans. However, there are still plenty of other albums in the Exodus catalog that you might want to pick up before this one.

Killing Songs :
Jeff quoted 60 / 100
Dylan quoted 78 / 100
Other albums by Exodus that we have reviewed:
Exodus - Blood In Blood Out reviewed by Thomas and quoted 80 / 100
Exodus - Fabulous Disaster reviewed by Bar and quoted 90 / 100
Exodus - Exhibit B: The Human Condition reviewed by Thomas and quoted 65 / 100
Exodus - Let There Be Blood reviewed by Jeff and quoted 80 / 100
Exodus - The Atrocity Exhibition... Exhibit A reviewed by Dylan and quoted 65 / 100
To see all 10 reviews click here
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