March 05, 2018

Exhorder - Law (1992)

Country: U.S.A.
Genre: Groove Metal
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© 1992 R/C Records
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia
New Orleans' Exhorder bear the frustrating (if unconfirmed) distinction of having established the sonic blueprint that fellow southerners Pantera subsequently perfected and rode all the way to the heavy metal big leagues. Never mind the fact that frontman Kyle Thomas' enraged shouting style and thought-provoking lyrics were absolute ringers for Phil Anselmo; or that Vinnie LaBella and Jay Ceravolo's muscular rhythm guitars may have aided in Diamond Darrell's transformation into Dimebag Darrell (see the especially telling instrumental "Incontinence"). The jury is, of course, still out on all this conjecture (and likely always will be), but it doesn't take a musical genius to realize that both bands were mining a very similar niche at exactly the same time -- one that saw the brutal values of death metal honed to a groove-oriented, bluntly focused approach. And except for its amateurish cover artwork, Exhorder's second effort, The Law, signified a notable improvement over their promising but flawed debut. Pushing the boundaries of their aggressive sound as far as they could, the band managed to radically broaden their dynamic and melodic range -- without losing touch with its core elements. Prime examples include "Soul Search Me," "Unforgiven," and the title track, all of which employ a dizzying array of neck-snapping starts and stops with unprecedented success. Taking things even further, the highly unusual "Un-Born Again" introduces funky guitar licks and slap bass reminiscent of both death-jazz experts Atheist, and funk/metal pioneers Mordred. But perhaps most conspicuous of all is Exhorder's surprisingly unimaginative rendition of Black Sabbath's "Into the Void," which stands in marked contrast to the inventive risk-taking going on all around it. A valiant effort nevertheless, The Law qualifies as a minor extreme metal classic of the early '90s, and yet it still couldn't prevent a disillusioned Exhorder from breaking up a short time later. [The Law was later paired with its predecessor, Slaughter in the Vatican, and reissued as part of Roadrunner's Two from the Vault series.]

tags: exhorder, the law, 1992, flac,


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