Friday, May 24, 2024

Exhorder see nothing but failure

Back in 2019, Exhorder released Mourn the Southern Skies following a 27-year absence from the studio. Fast forward into the future and they’ve followed up with another face-melter, possibly in contention for the top five thrash/groove metal albums of 2024.

Defectum Omnium (Latin for ‘The Failure of All’) talks about the pessimism surrounding the current state of the world we live in, as frontman Kyle Thomas states “The world is a dumpster fire” and how we humans are the “virus to the earth”. In the end, nature will have the last laugh by ridding itself of the human race and survive without us while we “join dinosaurs, woolly mammoths and sabre-toothed tigers once in her history”.

Before pressing play, the album cover itself can be seen as a representation of Defectum Omnium’s meaning where the grim reaper hugs a lifeless angel as if evil has finally won and that humans are staring at the apocalypse right in the face.

‘Wrath of Prophecies’ gets Defectum Omnium to a lightning start as Exhorder dive straight in, getting any anger off their chest in a heartbeat with agonising screams, headbanging blast beats and mouth-watering riffs. The trademark gnarly guitar tone in drop D tuning is incredibly satisfying and will bring an irresistible grin where, if you’re not careful, you might bite your tongue off once drawn into the music. It’s already noticeable that the stench of rage reeks strongly in this album judging by the lyrics picturing a scenario where the earth starts imploding before our eyes “Let’s watch the world collapse as the sunset fades”. For those who laughed off the possibility of the world ending as illustrated in the film ‘2012’, Exhorder have rubbed it in our faces that if we continue treating nature the way we currently do, this could very well become a reality. 

You can hear just how furious Kyle is in the way he lets out rough and piercing screams as sharp as a samurai sword slicing through a watermelon. He can feel the music deep in his soul and has carefully mastered the art of putting his emotions into what he does best. Sasha Horn on drums treats his kit as a boxing bag, hitting it as hard as he can until punching a hole out of anger with spotless technique while some wild solos by Pat O’Brien set the tone. If this is only a teaser of what lies ahead, the rest of the record will be the ultimate test of anyone’s sanity as they’re dragged to hell and back for 12 tracks.

‘Under the Gaslight’ doubles down on the intensity as the band make their message loud and clear that any breather requests will be declined. While the tempo might be slower, the brutality of the riffs and drumming are too hypnotising to ignore. The song touches on topics like betrayal, deception and empowerment with ‘Angels eyes, mouths of serpents’ symbolising how looks can be deceiving. What appears attractive can be nothing but the opposite, hence the serpent revealing its true colours.

‘The Tale of Unsound Minds’ brings out the groove side of Exhorder where they slow it down to walking pace. Kyle’s wide vocal range comes to life in this track as what were once angry screams turn into desperate groans of fading hope. Even when he sings cleanly, you can sense anguish and frailty in the quieter sections because there’s only so much frustration you can vent in a scenario where all you can pray for is to be put out of your misery “Just stop the silence, please, They’re making forever last so long”

A major highlight of Defectum Omnium is how hard the band have worked to make their music match its meaning and get inside the listener’s mind as if we were at the recording studios. For instance, the unexpected tempo changes reflect the back-and-forth pace of an apocalypse mercilessly engulfing us. The longer a song goes on, the more the idea of mounting agony reinforces that the end of our world can only be painful. Just like in the movie ‘Don’t Look Up’, ignoring the warning signs can only lead to catastrophe as Mother Nature is a mean creature if you don’t treat her well.  

‘Year of the Goat’ is another fast and angry track. By this point, Kyle has lost his temper and not even a stray jacket can hold him back as he lets rip with screams as strong as gale-force winds blowing boats offshore. Sasha’s energy levels on drums are higher than particles flowing inside the Large Hadron Collider as he ruthlessly executes blast beats without breaking a sweat while some crunchy riffs by the legendary guitarist Pat O’Brien (ex Cannibal Corpse) keep the neck-breaking frenzy going. In contrast to the prevalent theme of our planet coming to a nasty end, this tune in particular focuses on defiance and self-determination “It’s better to lose a friend, Than to feed an enemy again”.

The title track ‘Defectum Omnium/Stolen Hope’ starts off with a sustained drone followed by a Latin chant intro which translates to “There is no hope, for ruin is near” before another rapid tempo change.

Inside their endless bag of tricks, Exhorder incorporate elements of doom to enhance the fear factor and repeatedly shows scepticism by carving into the listener’s head that our actions have irreversible consequences “Stupidity’s exhausting, when did you think they’d care?”.

‘Three Stages of Truth/Lacing the Well’ feels like an endless hallucination as the acoustic guitar intro constantly swings between melodic and diminished chord progressions like a haunted grandfather clock pendulum. Pat goes into one of his trademark shredding sprees while the rest of the band fire on all cylinders as they aim to rubber-stamp the grim reminder of our future. The lyrics appear to paint an accurate picture of the post-truth era we live in where misinformation is prevalent and one must follow their own judgement as people seem to be confined within bubbles of their “reality”.

Exhorder have upped their game and with a record like this, fans will keep their fingers crossed in the hope that there’ll be more frequent releases in the making.

Defectum Omnium was released on March 8 2024 via Nuclear Blast Records.

Pedro Felippe
Pedro Felippe
Metalhead since the stone age. Always bash the crap out of my drum kit and am an avid gig goer. I massively identify myself within the metal community as the sense of belonging is unrivalled.

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Back in 2019, Exhorder released Mourn the Southern Skies following a 27-year absence from the studio. Fast forward into the future and they’ve followed up with another face-melter, possibly in contention for the top five thrash/groove metal albums of 2024. Defectum Omnium (Latin for ‘The...Exhorder see nothing but failure