Exodus @ Academy 3
It’s roasting in here. Boil in the bag thrashers, all assembled for an evening of ‘good, friendly, violent fun for all.’ Exomaniacs ready for a sound, sweaty beating in what promises to be the pit of pits.
For Salford lads Exxxecutioner this is a fantastic opportunity to impress an early crowd with their scathing death/thrash noise. They come on like a Show No Mercy era Slayer twatting Celtic Frost with a hammer with a death metal Liam Gallagher on vocals. It’s a serrated sound that fills the ears and these young lads certainly know their shit considering that when thrash was in it’s heyday they’d have been lucky to have heard it as sperm while swimming about in their dad’s full sacks. They have a loyal following too and so the pit erupts early for these youngsters. It’s a top confident performance.
English Dogs follow and the UK punk/metal pioneers impress with their thrashy rants that were an early influence on the development of thrash metal back in the early 80’s. Featuring Gizz Butt on lead guitar, formerly of The Prodigy amongst many other bands, who provides a level of guitar pyro that you wouldn’t expect to find in E.Ds punk incarnation. Adie Bailey on vocals is a suitably menacing shouter who pounds out his ire and spits vitriol with conviction and belief. Tracks like Gorgonized, from recent long-player The Thing With Two Heads are received voraciously from the sweating crowd as the way is paved with an enthusiastic and pummeling intent for the main event.
There are mutterings in the air about the absence of a certain Gary Holt tonight as he is busy with his other band. And as the legendary Exodus take the stage these mutterings are revealed as fact. In his place stands Heathen 6 stringer Kragen Lum and as the band kick off, following the dying strains of Black 13 no one cares anymore. It is enough for the die-hard thrashers that the maniac presence of Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza is in da house.
Blood In Blood Out. This ladies and mental-men is fucking war. Throw a hand grenade into a crowd and you'd get less bodies flying than this. Bear in mind that this is like moshing in an oven and yet the energy levels are so high you could bottle it as an alternative to Red Bull.
In a nutshell, Exodus are utterly flawless tonight. Children of a Worthless God and Pirhana could quite simply lift up the top one’s skull like a toilet lid and poo into your neck. And in this instance we are talking a poo the size of a gorilla’s thumb.
Classics like Blacklist and the awesome, still fresh Bonded by Blood are delivered with Jurassic power – as if the audience has committed some heinous crime and we are being aurally punished and violently exercised to achieve forgiveness. As crowd favourite, and possibly most well known Exodus mosh anthem Toxic Waltz hits, the assembled mass somehow finds, and taps into, a new level of mania and the shite hits the proverbial fan. “Everybody do the Toxic Waltz, kick your friend in the head and have a ball," screeches Souza with obvious delight as he watches the battlefield erupt before him.
Thrash is meant to be in venues like this. Not stadiums, sat in a distant seat watching four or five ants run around on a vast stage. It needs to be sweaty, dirty and up close and personal. A knife attack, not a sniper’s gunshot from two miles away.
And so, battered, bruised and abandoned into the hot night air we have all been given a lesson in violence. Our teachers, from the old school, Exodus.
Words: Paul ‘Bonded by Glue’ Cooke | Photos: Frederick Apps