Exumer: Possessed By Fire-80’s-1986.

Exumer is a German thrash metal band formed in Wiesbaden in 1985 by singer/bassist Mem V. Stein and guitarist Ray Mensh. The band broke up in 1991 after two demos and two albums. Exumer appeared for a one-off show at Wacken Open Air in 2001 and were re-activated by V. Stein and Mensh in 2008.

The first album, Possessed by Fire, moves on the same line of Into the Dark Past of the then label mates of Angel Dust, the second album Rising from the Sea is rather more obvious the influence of Slayer thanks to the voice of Paul Arakaki, similar to that of Tom Araya. Soon after this album the band broke up only to reform in the 2001 during the exhibition at Wacken Open Air. In 2009 Exumer released a one track demo called “Waking the Fire”. Exumer released their third album Fire & Damnation in April 2012, followed four years later by their fourth album The Raging Tides.[1] Their fifth album, Hostile Defiance, was released on April 5, 2019.[2]

Miembros (1986)

Mem von Stein
Vocals, Bass
Ray Mensh
Syke Bornetto
Mem Von Stein
Bass (1985-1986, 2001), Vocals (1985-1986, 2001, 2009-present)
See also: Skull PitSun Descends, ex-Mayhem, ex-Of Rytes, ex-Phobic Instinct, ex-Tartaros, ex-Humungous Fungus
Ray Mensh
Guitars (1985-1991, 2001, 2009-present)
See also: ex-Humungous Fungus
T. Schiavo
Bass (2009-present)
See also: ex-Hemlock, ex-Terror of the Trees, ex-Porphyria, ex-Sun Descends, ex-Skarhead, ex-Subzero
Matthias Kassner
Drums (2010-present)
See also: Powerball, ex-Dipsomania, ex-Paria
Marc Bräutigam
Guitars (2013-present)
See also: EverflowJitterbugThe Very End, ex-Asakku, ex-Caer Gwydyon, ex-Infernal Curse, ex-Orden Ogan (live)

Past Members:

See also: ex-Megatherion, ex-Tartaros
Syke BornettoDrums (1985-1989)
See also: ex-Q-Squad, ex-Tartaros
Paul ArakariGuitars (1985, 2009-2010), Bass (1986-1988), Vocals (1986-1988, 2009-2010)
Bernie SiedlerGuitars (1985-1991, 2001)
See also: ex-Humungous Fungus
Franz PriesBass (1989)
Bernd CramerDrums (1989)
John CaddenVocals (1989)
See also: ex-Demolition, ex-Damien, ex-Vandal
J. P. RappDrums (Session) (2009-2010)
H. K.Guitars (2010-2013)
(R.I.P. 2014) See also: ex-S.c.o.r.n.
Side A
1.Possessed by Fire04:55  Show lyrics
2.Destructive Solution03:46  Show lyrics
3.Fallen Saint04:01  Show lyrics
4.A Mortal in Black04:02  Show lyrics
Side B
5.Sorrows of the Judgement03:10  Show lyrics
6.Xiron Darkstar03:11  Show lyrics
7.Reign of Sadness03:41  Show lyrics
8.Journey to Oblivion04:20  Show lyrics
9.Silent Death05:03  Show lyrics

One thought on “Exumer: Possessed By Fire-80’s-1986.

  1. Mercyful Trouble, July 1st, 2021
    Written based on this version: 2012, CD, Pacheco Records (Reissue, Remastered)

    I’ve been told before, by many metal maniacs, that despite it not being my subgenre of choice, I have a somewhat unique taste in thrash. This really isn’t true though, because ultimately every so-called “unique” band among my thrashing veterans of choice is just another cult classic that every die-hard fan of the niche is familiar with. Nothing truly obscure, just a bit overlooked in the mainstream at most. I think this is because I never really connected with the hyper thrash community that much, and I was very choosy with the stuff they held in the highest regard. Upon hearing most of the canonical thrash material and finding myself only mildly enjoying Metallica and Megadeth, if not being totally indifferent to them, I realized that I wasn’t going to become a career thrasher, rather just picking a few gems for when I craved the style. Whether they were world famous like Slayer, well known in the scene like Overkill or Destruction (the latter bands are my top 3 thrash institutions), or slightly overshadowed by others in their niche, I seemed to eschew the conventional wisdom of what was regarded as the best thrash and just kind of went my own way.

    The latter category of bands contains one of the best examples of the selected thrash metal I got really into, that being Frankfurt’s Exumer. Sure, I’m also big on Dark Angel, Sacrifice, Assassin, and a handful of other slightly less mainstream thrash metal bands scattered about the globe, but I feel that although Exumer is considered a canonically relevant entity in thrash, especially in the teutonic scene, they’re far too dismissed by thrash veterans for how enjoyable their music is. It kinda goes to show that I don’t really “get” thrash. Exumer stole Slayer riffs, they’re a bit generic, they don’t have that many albums, what have you, and these are reasons they’re seldom placed near the top of thrash lists. Me, I don’t care, I just really like them for the style, especially 1986’s Possessed By Fire. I don’t know what it is, but despite the blatant influences on the riffs, it just feels like a classy and surprisingly distinct bit of metal. I like the songwriting, the vocals, the tone of the instruments, the tracklist, everything really. Hell, even the mascot is one of my favorites in all of metal and I’d like a mask and jacket just like that to wear for my mischief nights.

    Anyway, before I dissect the songcraft on PBF to expose what it is I so connect with about it, I’d just like to talk about a trend I’ve picked up on – lesser fans of a niche are going to have choosier, more eclectic taste in it than the diehard fans, who will swear by the canonical material, AS WELL as the cult classics, generally. I know this to be true because I can provide a personal example. Doom is my favorite genre, and I never shut up about Master of Reality and Born Too Late. I really cannot emphasize that trend enough, because to me, it’s a bit of a catharsis in that it explains why this album I hold in high regard has been such an enigma for me. I want to call it criminally underrated, but at the same time I understand why it’s met with some dismissal. I guess I just love it because I don’t truly understand this music.

    At any rate, the songs here are remarkably consistent at the very least. Slayer riffs are everywhere, but hey, if you’re gonna steal from anyone, steal from the best, right? It makes for a very literally “thrashy” and punchy listening experience, and this is evident from the first notes of the classic title track after a captivating choir intro. Tell me, exactly, in what regard is the title track not an outstanding thrash composition? It’s intense, unrelenting, and has enough changes to keep the energy up for all four minutes. The tone of the music is actually far less grim than Slayer or Kreator circa 1986, feeling slightly more rooted in traditional heavy metal themes. This is one of the aspects that makes this album such a classy bit of metal, as I said above. Basically, it’s dark but not overly so, and is therefore quite accessible. I quite like dark thrash, death/thrash and the like, but Exumer shows they can play heavy metal inspired thrash and execute it very well.

    An example of the latter would be the melodic solo bridge in “Destructive Solution” which does have a bit of an Iron Maiden vibe. Other components heard in tracks such as “Sorrows of the Judgement” feel a bit Mercyful Fate inspired, while the mid-tempo thrashing of “A Mortal in Black” highlights the roots of thrash in NWOBHM from Blitzkrieg to Diamond Head. Now, as far as composition goes, there is a notorious black sheep here, and that is “Fallen Saint.” The chorus riff is a direct ripoff of “Black Magic”, as I’m sure other reviews have pointed out. But honestly, it’s used well enough and is frankly a much more driving song than the overrated sixth track from Slayer’s debut effort ever was. Tracklist-wise, “Xiron Darkstar” is also an exceptional and adventurous thrash tune, with an excellent verse riff that, again, sounds heavily Slayer influenced, but is this time more original – I see that type of thing as being the true mark of genuine influence – writing in the same vein without directly borrowing from any one tune. Finally, “Silent Death” is one of my favorite album closers ever – nuclear annihilation is always a good subject to wrap up with.

    Other highlights would be the bass and vocals. Not all thrash has bass that comes through and adds this much punch to the music, so in this case it really pops with the guitar tone. For a traditional heavy metal-rooted thrash metal album, this shit is really “thrashy.” The vocals, meanwhile, are similar to Schmier from Destruction, but feel a bit less hostile and cynical, instead opting for a bit more energy and “fun’, further cementing the heavy metal roots. When your sound and songwriting is this strong and your influences are wielded this tastefully, you’ve got a recipe for high marks in my book.

    Exumer’s debut, Possessed By Fire, may indeed be considered second-rate thrash and perhaps rightfully so, but there is a great deal of material here that justifies it being one of my favorite releases in the style, and I think I speak for other fans and proponents of this album when I make these points. One other thing I would like to note before wrapping up is the fun, endearing, and innocent spirit in which this gem of a band was founded – they considered spelling their name the correct way, “Exhumer”, but one of the guys’ dads (I think) suggested they remove the “h”, in order to make it distinctly their own. It worked, didn’t it? To this day, typing the name “Exumer” on Encyclopaedia Metallum takes you directly to their page!

    Liked by 1 person

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