Exodus: Persona Non Grata-2021.

Exodus is an American thrash metal band formed in 1979 in Richmond, California.[1] Their current lineup consists of guitarists Gary Holt and Lee Altus, bassist Jack Gibson, drummer Tom Hunting, and lead vocalist Steve “Zetro” Souza. There are no original members left in Exodus other than Hunting, who has departed from the band twice, in 1989 and 2004, but rejoined in 2007. Exodus is also notable for being guitarist Kirk Hammett‘s band before he left in 1983 to join Metallica as Dave Mustaine‘s replacement. Holt, who replaced original guitarist Tim Agnello in 1981, has been most consistent member throughout various lineup changes and break-ups, and is the only member to be present on each Exodus release. Much of the band’s career has also been affected by bitter feuds between both band members and record companies, two extended hiatuses, deaths of former band members and internal problems often relating to drugs.[2]

Since its formation, Exodus has released eleven studio albums, two live albums, one compilation album, and a re-recording of their first album. Known as the kings of the Bay Area scene along with Metallica, they are often credited as pioneers of the Bay Area thrash metal scene,[3][4] and have been referred to as one of the region’s so-called “big six” alongside TestamentDeath AngelLååz RockitForbidden and Vio-lence.[5][6] Exodus have sold over five million albums worldwide,[7] and they are also considered to be one of the “big eight” of thrash metal, along with Metallica, MegadethSlayerAnthrax, Testament, Overkill and Death Angel.[8][9][10][11][12] The band had particular success in the mid-to-late 1980s with their first three studio albums: Bonded by Blood (1985), Pleasures of the Flesh (1987) and Fabulous Disaster (1989). The critical praise given to Fabulous Disaster garnered attention from major labels, including Capitol Records, with whom Exodus signed in 1989 and released two albums for the label: Impact Is Imminent (1990) and Force of Habit (1992). After a break up in 1993 and a short-lived reunion in 1997–1998, Exodus reunited once again in 2001, and since then, they have released six more studio albums, starting with and including Tempo of the Damned (2004), which reignited Exodus’ popularity and is considered to be a key part in the early-to-mid-2000s thrash metal revival movement.[13][14][15] The band’s eleventh and latest studio album, Persona Non Grata, was released on November 19, 2021.[16]


1982 DemoDemo1982
Die by His HandDemo1983 
Rehearsal ’83Demo1983
A Lesson in ViolenceDemo1984 
Combat Tour Live: The Ultimate RevengeSplit video1985
Bonded by BloodFull-length1985
Pleasures of the FleshDemo1986 
Pleasures of the FleshFull-length1987
MTV Headbangers BallSplit1989 
Fabulous DisasterFull-length1989
Objection OverruledSingle1990
The Lunatic ParadeSingle1990 
Impact Is ImminentFull-length1990
A Lesson in ViolenceCompilation1991 
Good Friendly Violent FunLive album1991
Thorn in My SideSingle1992 
Lessons in ViolenceCompilation1992 
Force of HabitFull-length1992
Another Lesson in Violence / Bound Gagged and BlindfoldedSplit1997 
Another Lesson in ViolenceLive album1997
Victims of Death – The Best of Decade of ChaosSplit1999 
War Is My ShepherdSingle2003
The Art of Dying / Tempo of the DamnedSplit2004 
Tempo of the DamnedFull-length2004
Shovel Headed Killing Machine / VirusSplit2005 
Live at the DNA 2004 (Official Bootleg)Live album2005 
Live at the DNA (Tempo of the Damned CD Release Party)Video2005 
Shovel Headed Kill MachineFull-length2005
Soilwork / ExodusSplit2007 
The Atrocity Exhibition: Exhibit AFull-length2007
Double Live Dynamo!Video2007
Riot ActSingle2008 
Best of Nuclear Blast: 20th AnniversarySplit2008 
Let There Be BloodFull-length2008
Shovel Headed Tour Machine: Live at Wacken and Other Assorted AtrocitiesVideo2010
Hammer and LifeSingle2010
Exhibit B: The Human ConditionFull-length2010
Bob Wayne / ExodusSplit2011 
Label Showcase – Nuclear BlastSplit2012 
Salt the WoundSingle2014 
Blood In, Blood OutFull-length2014
Elder GodsSplit2015 
Tempo of the Damned / Shovel Headed Kill MachineCompilation2016 
Original Album CollectionBoxed set2016 
Mr. Pickles ThrashtacularSplit2018
Gathered at the Altar of BlastSplit2018 
No LoveSingle2019 
Salt the WoundSingle2021 
Persona Non GrataFull-length2021


Tom HuntingDrums (1979-1989, 1993, 1997-1998, 2001-2005, 2007-present), Vocals (1979-1980)
See also: ex-I4NI, ex-IR8, ex-Repulsa, ex-Sexoturica, ex-Wardance, ex-Pleasure and Pain, ex-Angel Witch, ex-Heathen (live), ex-Piranha, ex-Quarteto de Pinga, ex-Runaway Train
Gary HoltGuitars (1982-1993, 1997-1998, 2001-present)
See also: Beloved Ghouls, ex-Wardance, ex-Sexoturica, ex-Slayer (live), ex-Spastik Children
Steve SouzaVocals (1986-1993, 2002-2004, 2014-present)
See also: Dublin Death Patrol, ex-Tenet, AC/DZ, ex-Hatriot, ex-Testament (live), ex-Legacy, ex-F-Bomb, ex-Metal Warrior
Jack GibsonBass (1997-1998, 2001-present)
See also: ex-Circle of Vengeance, ex-Wardance, ex-Dawn of Morgana, ex-Testament (live), ex-3rdrail
Lee AltusGuitars (2005-present)
See also: Heathen, ex-Angel Witch, ex-Die Krupps, ex-Mordred

Past Members:

Carlton MelsonBass (1979-1980)
See also: Prophets of Conviction, ex-Blizzard, ex-Colonel Flagg, ex-Führer, ex-Repulsa, ex-Outrage
Kirk HammettGuitars (1979-1983)
See also: Metallica, ex-Ministry (live), ex-Spastik Children
Tim AgnelloGuitars (1979-1981)
See also: ex-Outrage
Jeff AndrewsBass (1980-1983)
See also: ex-Possessed
Keith StewartVocals (1980-1981)
See also: ex-Blind Illusion, ex-Darkness, ex-Pyramid
Paul BaloffVocals (1981-1986, 1993, 1997-1998, 2001-2002)
(R.I.P. 2002) See also: ex-Piranha, ex-Heathen, ex-Hirax, ex-Killparty, ex-Spastik Children
Rob McKillopBass (1983-1991)
Mike MaungGuitars (1983)
Rick HunoltGuitars (1983-1993, 1997-1998, 2001-2005)
Evan McKaskeyGuitars (1983)
(R.I.P. 1989) See also: ex-Blind Illusion
John TempestaDrums (1990-1993)
See also: Motor Sister, ex-White Zombie, The Cult, ex-Helmet, ex-Prong, ex-Testament, ex-Rob Zombie, ex-Scum of the Earth, ex-Temple of the Black Moon, ex-The Dead Daisies, ex-Two-Bit Thief
Mike ButlerBass (1992-1993)
See also: ex-MindZone, AC/DZ, American Heartbreak, The Butlers, ex-Jetboy, ex-Stevie Stiletto
Paul BostaphDrums (2005-2007)
See also: ex-Slayer, ex-Forbidden Evil, Hail!, ex-From Hell, ex-Testament, ex-Tim Ripper Owens (live), ex-Forbidden, ex-BlackGates, ex-Systematic, ex-Truth About Seafood
Rob DukesVocals (2005-2014)
See also: Generation Kill, Bloodmoon Ritual, Dukes, Fragile Mortals, Planet Piss, ex-Cheatin’ Soccer Mom

One thought on “Exodus: Persona Non Grata-2021.

  1. hells_unicorn, November 21st, 2021
    Written based on this version: 2021, CD, Chaos Reigns (Japan)

    Long breaks in output can often signal a career that is winding down, but nothing could be further from the truth in the case of Bay Area thrash metal pioneers Exodus if the latest studio installment of their 40 years plus career is any indication. With a little over 7 years having passed since the triumphant return of iconic front man Steve “Zetro” Souza and the pummeling return to thrashing form that was 2014’s Blood In, Blood Out it would be rightly assumed that the urge to render the collective spine of the masses into confetti via a pummeling auditory assault would be reaching a fever pitch in the minds of this mad quintet. True to form, the hour long foray of unfettered aggression that is 2021’s Persona Non Grata, this outfit’s eleventh studio LP, is a beast to be reckoned with, though also one that balances out frenzied fits of sonic violence at ramming speed with a methodical sense of structure and needed respites into more measured territory that goes with crafting a masterwork.

    Keeping to the frenetic spirit that typified the sub-genre at its early 80s inception, this fold goes about their business with the level of speed and fury normally exhibited by bands half their age, showcasing from where the likes of Warbringer and Havok take their cues. The thunderous battery of kit maestro and co-founder Tom Hunting lays the foundation with the precision of a master architect and the explosive energy of a fusion reactor, while the raunchy and glassy bass work of Jack Gibson augments the highly percussive character of the arrangement and sits high in the mix. Likewise, the twin guitar assault of veteran riff machine Gary Holt and Heathen’s six-string solider Lee Altus amounts to a relentless cacophony of punchy hooks and flashy virtuoso solos that can rival any of the shred fests that adorned the classics of the 80s. And at the center of it all stands Zetro in all of his maddened, snarling glory, delivering the lyrical refrains of malcontent in a timbre resting somewhere between the raving heights of Bobby Ellsworth and the deeper growls of Chuck Billy.

    From the very onset of this extended kill session, this Bay Area mainstay doesn’t pull any punches, and often throws caution to the wind with maximum payoff. The opener and title song “Persona Non Grata” takes the concept of concise speeder meant to warm up the listener and stretches it into a massive, 7 minute long epic colossus of busy riffing, barely human vocalizations and a chaotic foundation provided by the rhythm section that is comparable to the more intense moments on 2004’s Tempo Of The Damned. This highly ambitious blend of early thrash energy with latter day elaboration is not an anomalous occurrence either, as near equally swift and complex excursions into longer territory such as the closing crusher “Antiseed” and the vertebrae-destroying 8 minute monster “Lunatic-Liar-Lord” round out the high points of this album’s latter half. In a sense, one could argue that these more developed and multifaceted offerings represent the same ideal that the style sought after in the early 90s via albums like Rust In Peace and Victims Of Deception, namely a balance of high-impact thrash fodder and a more nuanced and progressive sense of structure.

    All the same, the lion’s share of this album consists of Exodus’ forte going back to the days of Pleasures Of The Flesh, namely shorter bangers offered up at ludicrous tempos. The ultra-chaotic ode to media manipulation of the public “Clickbait” stands as one of the more ferocious offerings; showcasing a particularly riveting performance out of Tom Hunting that almost completely upstages the rest of the band. The punk-infused 3-minute ditty with a mouthful of a title “The Beatings Will Continue (Until Morale Improves)” takes a somewhat tongue-in-cheek yet socially conscious stand on how the riots of 2020 played out, yet manages to throw in plenty of tasty guitar treats despite its more streamlined format. Other standout moments in what is basically a near flawless assembly line of top notch thrash fodder include the more blues-rocking yet still amped up thrill ride “R.E.M.F.” and the almost mid-paced and punchy protest banger “Elitist”, both of which carries some echoes of the groovier material of modern Overkill but seasoned with an even sweeter savor of guitar solo goodness.

    In essence, this album amounts to a triumphant return to form wrapped in a gargantuan, ground-shaking production as only Andy Sneap can deliver. Though it initially comes off as a modern thrasher after the mold of Tempo Of The Damned and Blood In, Blood Out, the level of musical ambition here is a cut above everything that has come out bearing the Exodus label since the 1980s. It might be a little bit of a stretch to put this in the exact same league as the seminal debut and game-changer that was Bonded By Blood, but this fits in perfectly with what came into the equation when Zetro initially came in to fill Paul Baloff’s shoes. Though some nostalgia hounds may continue to balk at the slicker and more compressed mixing practices that most of the older guard have adopted, the 2020s are proving to be a renaissance-like period for the greats of the 80s, and alongside the recent output of Testament and Heathen, Exodus have knocked it out of the park here.

    Originally written for Sonic Perspectives (www.sonicperspectives.com)


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