It’s a mind-mangling thing, the time-space continuum… And here we are, spinning headlong through it thanks to the new album from Louisiana’s finest, the very splendid Exhorder

Y’see, many years ago, Exhorder recorded and released two earth-shattering albums, Slaughter In The Vatican and The Law, the first of which has managed to become one of the most influential metal albums of the nineties whilst still remaining relatively unheralded. For instance it’s possible to mount a very strong argument that, without Exhorder, there would be no post-glam Pantera… by extension there would be none of the slew of ‘groove metal’ laggards who floundered around in the wake of Phil, Dime, Vinnie and Rex.
Whether a world without Lamb of God is a boon or a reason for grave regret I’ll leave up to you, but – and here’s where the T-S C comes in, we now have a new, rejuvenated Exhorder back on the scene…. And in places they’ve mutated into some of those bands they had an undeniable influence on in the first place! Life imitating art imitating life, if you will…

But beyond the cleverish tautology, you have to say that this new slab o’wax from Kyle Thomas and Vinnie LaBella is an absolute screamer. You’ll have heard opener My Time by now, surely, but whilst it’s a pretty accurate summation of where the band is in 2019 it only goes so far in presenting the listener with just how good this band still is. Asunder is a grinding maelstrom of grandeur straight after the intro track, whilst Hallowed Sound adopts some touches from latter day Testament by way of variety. For the rest of the album the band keep to their self-patented groove/thrash format for the most part; then penultimate track Ripping Flesh follows through on it’s eighties thrash title with an absolute scorcher of Teutonic sounding speed metal, LaBella aided by some fabulous fretwork from new six string partner Marzi Montazeri, last seen round these parts in a Marvel-style team-up with Ripper Owens… Age has definitely not wearied Exhorder on the evidence on this neck-testing three minutes and two seconds of utter mayhem.

By rights that would be the place that marks the end of the album – nothing can top this track, surely? Yet the band manage to do so by heading in directly the opposite direction musically with the album’s title track. A slow-moving piece of American gothic, the track moves around nine and a half minutes of serpentine, slithering doom-laden yet strangely, darkly moving metal that’ll have you thinking Cemetery Gates one minute, C.O.C. the next, and, bizarrely, Dio-fronted Rainbow after that. That’s the breadth of experience Exhorder bring to their music, and that’s why this is absolutely one of the metal releases of the year thus far. Buy or die!

Mourn The Southern Skies is out on September 20th.