Archive for Exodus

Review: Mantic Ritual – Executioner [2009]

Posted in Mantic Ritual, SOS Metal Update with tags , on May 4, 2009 by gearsofrock

amazon-mantic-ritualIf the story of Pittsburgh, PA thrash metal neophytes Mantic Ritual’s heading out west, scoring a record deal and recording their debut in Germany (but not before touring the world with the likes of heroes Destruction and Exodus) sounds too good to be true, then you need to get a little less jaded, as this tale is completely accurate. EXECUTIONER is the end result of this quartet’s ultimate sojourn into the realm where velocity reigns supreme, an 11-track ode to the heyday of the legendary Bay Area uprising that mightily summons the power of Kill ’em All, Bonded By Blood, and So Far, So Good, So What with a lackluster sense of self seeping through. While this squad is undeniably tight and well-disciplined in the art of shred (“Black Tar Sin,” “Panic,” “Murdered By Death”), the prevalently placed ripping retro vibes on everything here from the early Hetfield growls to the Holt/Hunolt fancy fretwork leave little room for this unit to break from the 1987 mold, opting to worship at the altars of Kreator and Slayer exclusively. Almost at times portraying to be too vintage for their own good, within the recent resurgence of bullet belt wearing, gratuitous solo playing headbanging music, Mantic Ritual unquestionably stand a cut above the rest thanks to their jaw-dropping tightness, yet need to develop past the glory days of the genre if they want to go toe to toe and pump the kind of essential entities thrash metal music’s top dogs continue to lay down. www.nuclearblastusa.com -Mike SOS

3-stars1Mantic Ritual is Dan Wetmore (Vocals/Guitar), Jeff Potts (Guitar), Ben Mottsman (Bass), & Adam Haritan (Drums).

Review: Riphouse 151: Could’ve Beens And Wanna Be’s [DVD-2008]

Posted in Riphouse with tags , , on January 2, 2009 by gearsofrock

ripposter-dec-flyerIn the age of crack cocaine, Tiananmen Square, and Rodney King one thrash metal band carried the music scene of Rockland County, New York with powerful live performances and songs chock-full of social commentary. Riphouse 151: Could’ve Been’s and Wanna Be’s, directed by newcomer Peter O’Brien, chronicles the rise and collapse of Riphouse, an unsigned band with strong principles that was relatively unknown outside of the tri-state region in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

The documentary features reflective interviews with the three surviving band members: frontman bassist Mike Clancy, guitarist Joe Galvin, and drummer Jim DeMaria along with their families, followers, and friends, mixed in with archival footage of performances and classic photos of their day.

Early in the film, Clancy and Galvin explain how their abuse of cocaine helped them develop into a speed metal band. Ironically, it will be multiple freebasing binges and depression that will lead to Clancy’s discovery of Jesus Christ and the ultimate downfall of the band.

Towards the end of the film we learn that the lead guitarist of Riphouse, Jon Eleazar was tragically killed as a result of an auto accident shortly after the band’s final shows in the early 90’s. Galvin, who was in the car with Eleazar, managed to survive the crash. While the documentary portrays this unfortunate event in a serious and sensitive manner, the viewer might feel that the circumstances surrounding the accident are a bit ambiguous.

Riphouse 151 contains special appearances by ESPN Radio’s Don LaGreca who used to promote the band on the radio and Rob Dukes of Exodus who was the band’s former roadie. In his interview segments, Dukes often comes off as a beer guzzling ball-buster. Quotes from Dukes include, “Clancy was a big baby,” and “I love them guys, not really.”

O’Brien skillfully depicts Riphouse as a powerful local band using concert footage and 30 or so different interviewees. It is very clear that the band never cared to be a MTV sell-out. The band came close to signing with a small label known as Grudge Records, however Clancy refused orders to put a sexy girl on the cover of the record.

One of the funnier scene’s of the movie is the band performing a thrash parody of Guns N’ Roses’ “Sweet Child of Mine” with lewd and twisted lyrics.

The band’s “Al Bundy high school football” story or peak appears to be when they blew the headlining Flotsam and Jetsam off the stage at a show. However, the band never makes it out of Rockland County as Clancy falls into depression and finds Jesus.  The band soon parts ways and finally Eleazar’s untimely death seals the fate of Riphouse.

rating-bOne remarkable accomplishment of Riphouse 151 is that the viewer really begins to care about this independent band’s story. A major reason for this is that the filmmakers are clearly passionate for this band’s music, the Hudson setting, and what the band stood for in an era of uncertainty that came with the end of the Cold War.

Overall, this is a well-researched, well-documented, and professionally packaged film by Peter O’Brien that is highly recommended and not to be missed. After watching this documentary you will walk away a new member of the Riphouse family. B

IMDB: Riphouse 151

MySpace: Riphouse 151

Top 10 Hard Rock And Heavy Metal Albums of 2008

Posted in Top 10 with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 30, 2008 by gearsofrock

Here are the lists of “Top 10 Hard Rock And Heavy Metal Albums of 2008” by Meds, Pete, and our awesome readers:

amazon-metallica-death-magnetic2Meds [Administrator]

  1. Metallica – Death Magnetic
  2. AC/DC – Black Ice
  3. Maiden Heaven – Kerang! Tribute to Iron Maiden
  4. Tesla – Forever More
  5. Extreme – Saudades de Rock
  6. Motorhead – Motorizer
  7. Airbourne – Runnin’ Wild
  8. Judas Priest – Nostradamus
  9. Motley Crue – The Saints of Los Angeles

amazon-toadies-no-deliverancePeter O’Brien [Frequent Contributor]

  1. Toadies – No Deliverance
  2. Metallica – Death Magnetic
  3. Cccome? – Raccoon
  4. Buckethead – Albino Slug
  5. Devotchka – A Mad & Faithful Telling
  6. The Clash – Live at Shea Stadium
  7. Exodus – Let There Be Blood
  8. Iron Maiden – Somewhere Back In Time (Recommended classic: Powerslave)
  9. Megadeth – Anthology: Set The World Afire (Recommended classic: Rust In Peace)
  10. Guns N’ Roses – Chinese Democracy (Just because it isn’t a collection)

acdc-black-ice1Gear of Rock Readers [According To Page Views]

  1. AC/DC – Black Ice
  2. Metallica – Death Magnetic
  3. Motley Crue – The Saints of Los Angeles
  4. Exodus – Let There Be Blood
  5. We Wish You A Metal Xmas and a Headbanging New Year
  6. Toadies – No Deliverance
  7. Extreme – Saudades de Rock
  8. Tesla – Forever More
  9. Staind – The Illusion of Progress
  10. Maiden Heaven – Kerang! Tribute To Iron Maiden

Thank you to all our readers for making the Gears of Rock a great place to read hard rock and heavy metal reviews. 2009 will be even bigger and better with more album reviews, concert reviews, and give aways. Have a very Happy New Year!!!

Update: Mike SOS’s [Frequent Contributor]

  1. Metallica – Death Magnetic
  2. Death Angel – Killing Season
  3. Torche – Meanderthal
  4. Raw Radar War – = =
  5. Nachtmystium – Assassins: Black Meddle Part I
  6. The Haunted – Versus
  7. Venomous Concept – Poisonous Apple
  8. King’s X – XV
  9. Byzantine – Oblivion Beckons
  10. Gojira – The Way Of All Flesh

Review: Exodus – Let There Be Blood [2008]

Posted in Exodus with tags , , , on October 23, 2008 by gearsofrock

By Peter O’Brien

In the beginning, there was violence and there was metal. Two entities that, while separate in nature, became fused forever when bay area thrash originators, Exodus, wrote and recorded their debut album, Bonded By Blood. Now, twenty-four years after it was first released, Exodus returns with a re-recording of their debut album to bestow their metal command to a whole new generation. Let There Be Blood, which is the title of this upgraded rendition, is a note for note, word for word replica of the original. The album was a bi-coastal effort with the music tracks recorded at Sharkbite Studios in Oakland, CA and JKZ Production Studio in San Rafael, CA, and the vocal tracks recorded by Jon Ciorciari at J. Rod Production Studios in New City, NY. The album was produced by Exodus guitarist Gary Holt and is set to be released on Oct. 28 by Zaentz Records.

The new album is not intended to replace the original, but rather pay tribute to all the elements that made it great; most notably the performance of original Exodus vocalist, Paul Baloff who passed away in 2002. It was Baloff’s unique vocal rhythm that made his performance on Bonded by Blood stand out. His vocal style on that record was at times frantic and irregular, but worked within the songs. The emphasis he put on certain words, and speed at which he approached others really added another layer to these songs that can’t be achieved with a traditional, straightforward vocal approach. Sadly, it is also the vocals on that album that make it sound dated. Not so much the performance, as the presentation. There is a very apparent echo on all the vocals that flatten not only Baloff’s performance, but also hinders the music underlining it. That is another reason the band chose to re-record the album — to give these songs the benefit of today’s technology with overall better production quality.

Let There Be Blood crushes from the moment you press play. The first track, “Bonded By Blood,” jumps right in with both feet and kicks you in each side of your head. Current vocalist, Rob Dukes, sings with all the venom, malice, and intensity that should accompany this music. As he does when performing live, Dukes makes these songs his own. His vocal nuances can be heard throughout the album, as there is no attempt on his part to imitate (or replace) the work Baloff did on the original album. Since his debut with the band on 2005’s Shovel Headed Kill Machine, Dukes has refined and honed his vocal talent. The growth he achieved on 2007’s The Atrocity Exhibition: Exhibit A has only furthered his ability, which is most apparent on Let There Be Blood.

The album continues with the same order of the songs as on the original. They are all along the lines of Bonded by Blood in terms of presentations. Every track sounds like an assault on the listener. The mix is tight, clean, and brutally “crunchy.” Songs like “And Then There Were None” sound more punishing than ever and still resonate as a commentary on today’s culture and politics. Other songs that were great to begin with, such as “A lesson in violence,” and “Metal Command” are not only relentless, but re-establish the tone of the album, as well as the genre.

The second half of the album is what really benefits from the re-recording. Songs that were really dated musically and lyrically, like “Piranha,” are given a new life on this recording. Even the little things like the transition into the bridge and solo’s on “No Love” is much smoother. “Deliver Us To Evil,” has all the crunch of a song you’d expect to hear on the way to Hell. The original set of songs ends with a full on thrash rendition of “Strike of the Beast,” which somehow manages to capture the intensity of such a pursuit.

The real treat on this album is the tenth and final song, “Hells Breath.” Although this is the first time it is being recorded the song was actually written in the early days of the band. It features a riff from original guitarist, Kirk Hammet, which he took with him to Metallica and later became part of their song, “Trapped Under Ice.” This is also the only song on the album to be mixed by recording engineer, Jon Ciorciari. The rest of the album was mixed by Andy Sneap, who worked on their previous album, The Atrocity Exhibition: Exhibit A.

Overall Let There Be Blood is a grand improvement over Bonded By Blood from a production standpoint. The quality of the recording is better, the mix is better (you can actually hear the bass), even the artwork is better; and relatively speaking, the vocals are better. Facts are facts and if there’s one thing that can be said about Exodus it is that they always had the right vocalist for the right time. It is a tragedy that Baloff couldn’t be a part of this project and showcase his professional growth between then and now. But there is also no way he wouldn’t be proud of his band mates for preserving his legacy.

These songs are timeless and this album proves it. They stand up today just as well as they did in 1985. Would it have been better to do a tour and play the album in its entirety like Primus did with Seas of Cheese, and Frizzle Fry — and make the songs available for download? Maybe. But that wouldn’t necessarily urge someone to pick up the original and revisit it. Nor would it be a longstanding tribute. If anything Exodus should have packaged the two together seeing as how these albums are in fact “Bonded by Blood.”

Exodus is Rob Dukes [vocals], Gary Holt [guitars], Lee Altus [guitars], Jack Gibson [bass], and Tom Hunting [Drums].

Buy Let There Be Blood at amazon.com

Browse the Exodus catalog at the Gears of Rock store

Be sure to check out Peter O’Brien’s thrash metal documentary “Riphouse 151: Could’ve Been’s & Wanna Be’s” which is currently on the festival circuit.