In creating hyper-focused stylistic choices in the construction of their fourth very retro-thrash album ‘New War Order’ Greek metal band Exarsis have effectively hidden safely behind their influences. Though it would be facetious to accuse the group of ‘hiding’ rather than simply wearing their true metal influences so proudly that their message and talent are outshined by “who they sound like”. This isn’t a new phenomenon and it should surprise zero thrash fans around the world. Groups like Warbringer, Havok and Municipal Waste have found success in tunnel vision retro thrash metal releases that exist purely as tribute and rendition of one of metal’s most inspiring and energetic generations. Thrash metal changed the world of heavy metal for the better but retro releases (over thirty years later) may have hit rehash fatigue at least a decade ago. What better testament to the power of thrash metal style and execution that Exarsis can exist as merely an up-to-par entity and still be just as effective as any second tier thrash release from the genre’s heyday. They’ve got their Bay Area-meets-Teutonic thrash style locked in and down to a science; the resulting album ‘New War Order’ is a shrieking, moshable riff-salad that demands attention with its furor and political outrage.
Exarsis have done an amazing thing in recreating the inspiring leap in quality found on the third Artillery album ‘By Inheritance’ without a lot of the power metal influences. Hints of Metal Church (circa ’89) and bouncy Vio-lence riffs elevate the songs beyond riff exercises into memorable guitar adventures. Most notable in their sound is the impassioned shriek of the vocalist, which closely resembles the style of Lååz Rockit. He narrowly avoids the power-cheese of bands like Toxik or Realm by sticking to his high-pitched but muscular yelling, often gilded with group-shouting, that is devoid of crooning. I rarely take a second to consider the lyrics of metal records the same way I don’t re-read scripts for Rambo movies, but I took a second of pause when I saw the album art and the title of the first song “Zionism (The Reaping)”. The lyrics here are in opposition to the New World Order, and well… I am so unfamiliar with the subject matter that it hardly bears my mentioning. What I will say is that this is up there with recent efforts from Megadeth and Havok in their attempts to give broadview political subjects a poetic ripping. I’m not equipped to interpret their stance against the NWO as a phenomenon or conspiracy theory. It simply makes me go “Hmmm…“
I do however wonder if the album art might ruffle a few feathers. I’m a staunch Atheist who is anti-Christian admittedly to a fault. The anti-Zionist imagery of the cover is far more rare than anti-Christian symbolism and it gave me pause. I know that it is hard to separate criticism of ideology/religious cult from racism, so my initial reaction to the cover art perhaps speaks to my own ignorance of Zionism. If the lyrical content here is literally the shit we see in places like Infowars and in Mustaine’s weird personal beliefs then I’m just so incredibly not interested. But hey, if you’re not into political world-governing power struggles and manipulation don’t worry because the lyrics are hard to follow amidst the vocal theatrics and inspired thrash riffing. Inspiration of any kind is infectious and I could never fault a band for putting strong beliefs within their poetry.
Do you like old school/retro thrash metal, group shouted vocals, and everything else you’d expect from a throwback thrash group focused on late 80’s mainstream thrash metal you’d hear from German or Bay Area groups back in the day? Well, uh, this album is good as hell.
|Released||October 20, 2017|
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Vocals/thrash riff mastery. 3.0/5.0