This was the first Exodus album that I had the pleasure to hear. Its the second of 6 albums, and is from 1986/1987. It's also the first one with their current singer (Yes, they are still around) Steve 'Zetro' Souza, who used to be the singer in Testament.
Exodus, as you may know, originally gained quite a bit of fame for having one Kirk Hammett in their original line-up, and he expressed his views on the formation of that band earlier this year, when unfortunately asked his opinion on the late Paul Baloff, the original Exodus singer.
That first album, 'Bonded By Blood' from 1985, was a bit like Death's 'Leprosy', in the fact that many people think that it was their best album. This means that the reivews and press coverage of the other 5 haven't been as glowing, (although the reviews for 'Another Lesson In Violence' are different due to the fact that it's a live album).
After 'Bonded', came 'Pleasures Of The Flesh', and it's not as bad as you might be led to believe. The guitars are brilliant, and capture the best of the thrash-metal style. I've only heard the vinyl picture-disc version, and it sounds so good from that, but I don't know if the CD has picked up any recording limitations.
The songs themselves deal with some quite extraordinary themes, but they are strangely welcome for thrash. Many thrash bands tended to have quite a political stance for their lyrics, or they used myths and horror. This has more of the latter, with songs about being mad (Deranged) unstoppable insects (Parasite), and Cannibals (Pleasures Of The Flesh), but also talks about Pollution (Chemi-Kill), Nuclear War (Seeds of Hate), being in coma (Brain Dead), being a American Western Gunslinger (!) (Faster Then You'll Ever Live to Be), and there's even a little acoustic instrumental (30 Seconds).
All this, with the now trademark partnership of Gary Holt and Rick Hunolt, who guitar trade-offs work as well as any you'd find on a Slayer record.
Steve's voice is also something that makes Exodus quite original. Paul also had an original style, one that has been commented on as 'Glass-Gargling', but Steve manages a range that can encompass both agressive, and slightly more soft singing, when needed. His style is also very venomous (not the band - check something like Karl Walker of Carcss to compare what venom would be expressed as).
I personally love the feel of the riffs of the songs. They follow very good thrash patterns, and the solos aren't over indulgent.
If you want to know how bay area thrash was meant to be played around the late 80's (apart from Metallica of course..., they'd already gone past thrash as they finished Master of Puppets), then this is definately a good start.
After this, Exodus went on to modify the normal pattern of thrash, and 'Fabulous Disaster' (With the song 'Toxic Waltz', that apparently 'killed' thrash by being played on MTV), 'Impact is Imminent', and the underrated 'Force of Habit' completed their catalogue up to the start of the 90's (well, 1992). They were then not heard until 1997, when 'Another Lesson In Violence' came out, and then they disappeared again. With the tragic death of Paul in February 2002, Exodus started again, and will be putting together an album in th near future.
What excites me the most is that I'll finally be able to see a band I thought I'd never be able to see live, as they're coming to the UK this December (Dec 2002). Still leaves me with quite a few old (and not so old) bands left to see though...