Exhorder - Mourn the Southern Skies

Exhorder Mourn the Southern Skies
Mourn the Southern Skies
Nuclear Blast Records
It’s pretty weird, almost surreal to see a new Exhorder album coming out… I mean the last time that happened, I had only been listening to metal for a couple or so years, I knew shit and I was wondering why I was getting pitch fuzz on my weenie.
Fast forward, almost three decades and despite having not come out with any new material even though existing in various reincarnations in the past, the duo of Labelle and Thomas augmented by a couple of guys from Heathen and a former Anselmo collaborator return with a new album.
Now Exhorder have been hailed as the progenitors of groove metal and it’s true that along with Pantera they did at almost the same time display a penchant for rhythmical thrash heavy that at the time broke some new ground. Obviously Pantera were much more successful while Exhorder folded just a couple of years after they put out “The Law”… but later, rather than sooner they have returned with quite a bit of bombast.
Feeling as a logical continuation of where the band could have gone after “The Law”, “Mourn the Southern Skies” is a really a highly rhythmical heavy album that sometimes breaks into thrash territory, pretty much like latter day Slayer and Dark Angel (who recently released a quite massive album). Exhorder might not have some great master-plan about how they should sound, going for their gut instinct, but it’s exactly that endearing blue collar ethos and grit that makes it all work.
“My Time” feels like a barrage of fists smashing your face and pommeling you into submission.
While, “Asunder” with its more involved rhythm and added heaviness feels closer to home for the potential listener, who most likely belongs to the 99 %.
“Hallowed Sound” feels like going through the blades of a combine harvester at first, before it displays some more refined, melodic qualities… that I am not sure even the band knew they had.
“Beware the Wolf” feels rabid and foaming at the mouth as it tears your flesh in a bloodcrazed frenzy.
“Yesterday’s Bones” is another mid-tempo heavy groover with more direct/less abstract lyrics, which speak straight to the listener. It sounds like what BLS would like to be…
“All She Wrote” has some very tasteful and intricate drumming that largely justifies the groove epithets. It’s Groovy beyond any shadow of a doubt.
“Rumination”, true to its title, collects elements from all around for a slamming but also melodic slab of metal, which transcends styles. Possibly one of the songs I enjoyed the most on the album.
“The Arms of Man” takes the basic Exhorder MO and slows down the BPM, while leaving the heaviness intact, resulting in a sludgy, viscous and hard hitting jam.
On the other hand, “Ripping Flesh” replaces the double pedal on the drums with a bikes pedal and just fucking goes freewheel burning… manically fast, it rips the flesh from your bones for sure.
The title track arrives last; “Mourn the Southern Skies” is a thick & heavy piece of NOLA metal, with all the swanky swampiness you might expect from such a proclamation. Really Enjoyable.
I must say that I really enjoy how Exhorder have matured. The guitar tone is second to none, Kyle Thomas sounds genuinely pissed most of the time, but also is able to emote according to what each song requires (great case and point is the title track) and the new guys that have been with the band for a couple of years or so, feel completely acclimatized. The result is a really strong comeback album that doesn’t fail to impress.