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Exhorder – Slaughter In The Vatican
Label – Roadrunner
Year Of Release – 1990
The year was 1990. The mid eighties thrash explosion had died down and bands from there had either tasted mainstream success or fallen by the way side. There wasn’t a lot that was new, exciting and heavy in America right then.
Then, Exhorder happened. Exhorder pretty much started the whole angry American thrash scene in the early nineties and Slaughter In The Vatican was the match that lit the scene.
The album slams out with the ferocious riff of “Death In Vain” which sounds like something Exodus would have been proud of. This is pissed off thrash metal with a rare ferocity that was at that time unmatched.
Guitarists Vinnie Labella and James Ceravolo had some awesome thrash riffs that predated most American metal that was to come. Ideas that bands like Pantera and Machine Head would later bring to full fruition were already being used by Exhorder on “Slaughter In The Vatican” My proof for this is the thrash classic that is “Desecrator.” A mid paced riff starts the song before the band explode into a song that is still being ripped off today. Every angry American thrash band that has come out since has borrowed from this one song. A mid paced riff starts the song before the thrash riffs hit home and drummer Chris Nail comes in with some tastefully executed double bass drums. This song is pretty much the centre piece of the album.
Still, what makes this album so damn good is that each song on this album is an adrenaline charged action packed event. Be it the pure old school thrash of “Exhorder” or the controlled calculated riffing of the lengthy and intense “The Tragic Period.” The guitar leads are a bit all over the place sounding a bit like Slayer and vocalist Kyle Thomas isn’t very consistent but in the face of these riffs, these colossal, homicidal riffs, all other considerations are laid to rest. Chris Nail on drums also deserves a special mention for just destroying the drum kit and adding tons of aggression to the mix. I have no idea what he did after Exhorder but his drumming on Slaughter In The Vatican is terrific.
17 years on, “Slaughter In The Vatican” still sounds fresh, vital and heavy as fuck. A true blue classic!
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