St. Paul, Minnesot'as True Metal Record Store (RIP as of Dec. 24, 2015)
When it comes to German thrash, three obvious giants stand over all of history: KREATOR, SODOM and DESTRUCTION, in that order for me. Several others flourished in their shadow, including DARKNESS, PROTECTOR, ASSASSIN, DEATHROW and today’s subject band, EXUMER.
S0 how does EXUMER’s 1986 album Possessed by Fire stack up to, say, Pleasure to Kill from the same year? Let’s break it down, y’all:
And so on. Ultimately there’s no fucking with an eternal classic like Pleasure to Kill, so I apologize for getting your hopes up and wasting your time. Please don’t let this stop you from a recreational listen. Go on, give it a virtual spin!
Listen and wait for it…the riff under the solo on the second track, “Destructive Solution.” It actually took me years to make this connection, but: EXUMER is EXODUS! EXODUS is EXUMER! That riff sure sounds familiar. And after hearing that (sorry), you’ll notice similarities all over ranging from the delivery of Mem Von Stein, to the occasional “riot” vocals, to the cadence of the breakdowns — see another example in “Fallen Saint,” where Von Stein sounds particularly Paul Baloff-like in a very EXODUS-like moment. The feeling becomes very difficult to shake after a while. Then “A Mortal in Black” comes on and reinforces it all over again. Goddamnit.
EXUMER shouldn’t be discounted entirely as a tricked-out ripoff band, though. There are plenty of speedier moments much more akin to the chaos pioneered by their countrymen, for example. Other riffs are borrowed from throughout the harder metalsphere of the time, including some fairly obvious nods to METALLICA, which seemed to be a favorite of Teutonic riff-hunters circa 1985-86 (such as the aforementioned ASSASSIN). Hard to blame them for that, really.
Ultimately EXUMER rank as one of those bands who managed to be in the right place within a popular scene, cultivating the “right” aesthetic without the substantive songwriting to back up their vision. Many people don’t mind that, which is how scenes move from a few core creatives to overwhelming catalogs of similar, but diluted visions. They are fun for nostalgia though, and I certainly admit I pull out Possessed by Fire relatively often to scratch that German thrash itch I’ve overworked via the classics themselves. We (usually) carry this one at the shop if you’re feeling the same inclination; if you need more, the Bonded by Blood–Endless Pain–Persecution Mania prescription has yet to do me wrong.
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