Exodus has been one of the fundamental pieces in the formation of thrash metal how we know it today, it’s not doubt that albums like Bonded By Blood, Pleasures Of The Flesh, and Fabulous Disaster are among the albums that shaped the thrash metal landscape. This year, finally Exodus released a new album. Blood In Blood Out, the album not only marks the band’s 10 studio album, but it also brings back long time vocalist Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza who re-joined Exodus for a second time last June.
The expectations about a new Exodus record had been high since 2012. But, I must say that Blood In Blood Out tops Exhibit B: The Human Condition, this might be because the production is more raw, but at the same time comprehensive, or because the vocals of Souza added a sense of old school to the band’s sound that wasn’t there before. Whatever the reason might be, the fan response towards the new album catapulted the record to the #38 spot in the billboard top 200 in the first week out.
Last month we had the experienced to see some of these songs played live as Exodus was on the road supporting Slayer. You could tell the band sounded different, as they had regained their original punching sound as Souza‘s voice brings back the band to their natural place. I remember a chaotic show for the Metal Alliance tour, but their show at Comerica was different, as their music seems more focus, and with a fresh drive to it.
To understand the impact of Blood In Blood Out, we talked to drummer Tom Hunting of Exodus the day after they played Phoenix, AZ. We talked about the album, the change of vocalists, the tour with Slayer, and much more.
Pictures: Exodus at Comerica Theater 11/15/14
The Age Of Metal: Hey Tom, how are you?
Tom Hunting: Hey man, I am good. How are you doing?
TAOM: Great, It was great to see you guys live the other night here in phoenix. It was definitely good to see the new songs live.
TH: Thanks, I am glad you like it.
TAOM: Now, that you are on tour, how do you feel about being on the road in the United States again, since your last extended tour was back in 2012 for Metal Alliance.
TH: Yeah, it’s been a while. Its been good so far, we are four shows in and the crowds have been great, the reception has been great, and we are really happy with the show.
TAOM: Last month Exodus released Blood In Blood Out. How has been the reception of the album so far among the fans?
TH: People love it, I haven’t heard really any negative response about it. it’s a good record, we worked hard on it and we took our time, and had a lot of fun recording it.
TAOM: How the change of vocalists impacted the album or the recording of the album?
TH: Not too much, It was extra work for Jack as he was doing all the tracking, he was engineering the record. So, I had to throw Jack some props.
TAOM: It was his first time tracking a record, correct?
TH: Yeah, He got the tools how to do it, he went to school to learn pro-tools and stuff like that. It took a long time to record the album with Gary’s schedule with Slayer, and all that stuff. But, even with the singer’s change we wanted to schedule a lot of time for vocals, and ‘Zeth’ came in prepare and ready to rock, and there it is.
TAOM: Once again Exodus worked with Andy Sneap on this album, how is the working relationship between the band and Andy at the time to get stuff done for the record?
TH: Oh we are like family, we love Andy. Andy basically came out to do the drum tracks, and helps us set up our studio, then Jack did all the tracking after the drums, then we sent it to him to mix. We took a little different approach to the drum tracking we used more room mics to get like a big boom drum sound, and not so much close mics and trying to divert from the formula we used on the last two records.
TAOM: That was actually my next question, since the sound of this album is fast and big, I understand you recorded the drums in a drum room with live mics. How that idea came together? Were you looking for a big sound rather than a crisp sound?.
TH: Well, we were looking for both we wanted to have options, and if you close mic everything in a smaller drum room you won’t have a room mic option there. So, we basically set up three room mics; two in front of the drum set, and one really expensive one about 18 feet in from of the drums, that just kind of hang in the middle of the air. It has a really good ambient sound for the drums, and I am very happy with the drum sound on this record.
TAOM: It seems the album did really well in the first week, as it ranked #2 in the hard rock/metal billboard chart, and #38 in the top 200. How important are this number for Exodus?
TH: It doesn’t mean as much today. I think the charts are a thing of the past, we are happy to be up there. To be a top 40 that is good news for us, its good news for metal. We have faith in the album when we got done with it, we knew it would be special, its album number 10. We all feel lucky and fortunate just to be in a band that make 10 records, that’s quite an accomplishment, quite a milestone. It’s a lot years in the business.
TAOM: Recently I read on a Rolling Stone’s magazine article, and it seems for Kirk Hammet was a huge to finally appear on a Exodus record. But, how that translate or what that means for Exodus?
TH: It was good to have him come in, he was part of the formation of this band and he is never been on a record with us. We were happy to have him come in, it was a simple process. he just came in and lay down a solo, then we BBQ chicken and drink beer.
TAOM: Exodus recently comeback from a series of shows down in South America. How was that tour for Exodus? and How do you compare the South American crowds with those in North America?
TH: I had to say. Not to disrespect the North American fans, but the South American fans are just fucking insane. They go crazy for metal, they are very passionate about this kind of music, and the shows are killer. When you have crowd response like that, it just makes you want to recharge, they go insane every place down there is chaos.
TAOM: I understand that bands when tour down there get a little bit more protective, since the moment that they arrived at the airport to the hotel and to the venue there is fans everywhere. How much toll that in a band at the time of not having so much freedom of going out and check out the country?
TH: Oh not at all, it didn’t affect us at all. We are happy that the people are positive and welcoming, we didn’t carry a lot security with us. It’s good when you land in an airport and is 100 people there to greet you, nobody got hurt, nobody went crazy. It was nice.
TAOM: Now that you guys are in the road, and the album is out. What is next for Exodus after you guys finish the tour? What is on storage for 2015? a live DVD perhaps?
TH: We are looking at Europe now, and probably another US tour, nothing I can confirm now. But, we will be out there hitting it hard next year.
TAOM: That is good to hear. Tom, thank you so much for taking the time to speaking with us, and good luck with the rest of the tour.
TH: Thank you.
Slayer, Suicidal Tendencies + Exodus 2014 U.S. Fall Tour Dates:
11/11 – Fox Theatre, Oakland, Calif.
11/12 – Fox Theatre, Oakland, Calif.
11/14 – The Forum, Los Angeles, Calif.
11/15 – Comercia Theatre, Phoenix, Ariz.
11/17 – Bricktown Events Center, Oklahoma City, Okla.
11/18 – ACL Live, Austin, Texas
11/19 – Verizon Theatre, Dallas, Texas
11/21 – Hard Rock Live, Orlando, Fla.
11/22 – The Tabernacle, Atlanta, Ga.
11/23 – The Fillmore, Charlotte, N.C.
11/24 – Empire, North Springfield, Va. (Exodus Only)
11/25 – The Armory, Albany, N.Y.
11/26 – Sands Events Center, Bethlehem, Pa.
11/28 – The Palladium, Worcester, Mass.
11/29 – Wellmont Theatre, Montclair, N.J.
11/30 – Tower Theatre, Philadelphia, Pa.
12/02 – Agora Theatre, Cleveland, Ohio
12/03 – Madison Theatre, Covington, Ky. (Exodus Only)
12/04 – Egyptian Room, Indianapolis, Ind.
12/05 – The Fillmore, Detroit, Mich.
12/07 – Aftershock – Merriam, Kansas (Exodus Only)
12/08 – Gothic Theatre – Denver, Colo. (Exodus Only)
12/09 – Pub Station – Billings, Mont. (Exodus Only)
12/10 – The Hop – Spokane, Wash. (Exodus Only)
12/11 – Studio Seven – Seattle, Wash. (Exodus Only)
12/12 – Hawthorne Theater – Portland, Ore. (Exodus Only)
12/13 – Senator Theater – Chico, Calif. (Exodus Only)
12/14 – Strummers – Fresno, Calif. (Exodus Only)