When a band has gone ‘through the mill’ so to speak – break- ups, reforming etc – and not put out a release for twenty-seven years, you approach the first listen with excited trepidation. But wow – no need to worry, as this is an absolute banger.
To put this review into perspective I have only been a fan of Exhorder since I came across previous albums Slaughter in the Vatican & The Law whilst researching music for my radio show only a couple of years back. I was gutted to read they had already split in 1994 – but imagine my excitement to find out they had reformed and were playing Bloodstock 2018.
Whilst watching their first-ever blistering UK performance, I remember thinking OMG they are awesome – I hope they keep going and release a new album as their performance was the highlight of the whole weekend for me.
Fast-forward to today and ‘Mourn the Southern Skies’ has just dropped into my inbox. This long-playing record (27 years after their last) opens with the audio assault that is ‘My Time’ A song full of intent, with little to no comprise this song clearly demonstrates that Exhorder are here, they have matured and you should listen. The second track ‘Asunder’ (one of my faves on the album) opens with a really cool groove akin to southern metal. When the track starts proper it has a feel similar to the power of power metal – power thrash!
The album continues with an unrelenting barrage of good, aggressive, very modern metal.
The album closes with the title track ‘Mourn the Southern Skies’ that starts with a haunting picked guitar, sounds of the ocean and a clean vocal that doesn’t feel out of place on a modern metal album. By the time the guitars, bass, and drums kick in for the verse you know this is going to be epic! What a closer, my favourite song on the whole album.
This album is immense, it is epic, and it is worth the wait! Exhorder have grown so much in the last 27 years – listening to this makes you feel like they haven’t been away.
Exhorder – Mourn The Southern Skies is out on now via Nuclear Blast.