Thrash metal legends Exodus return with their eleventh proper album Persona Non Grata, their first in over seven years. Exodus have been a consistent force in the metal scene for over 40 years and their Bonded By Blood still stands as one of the greatest thrash metal debuts of all time.
Recently drummer Tom Hunting had been dealing with a cancer battle that he is still recovering from, and rather amazingly he sounds tremendous on this album with all of the above being considered. This album marks the second album since the return of longtime vocalist Steve “Zetro” Souza who feels like he regained whatever it was that he lost on Blood In, Blood Out.
The opening title track is standard Exodus, leading with their heavy and brash delivery, something that made them a bit of an oddity in the San Francisco scene, one that was less worried about melody and more with snapping your neck first. Lyrically the band tackles internet themes on tracks like “Elitist” and “Clickbait.”
Both tracks illustrate problems within the music scene on the digital front, namely people who think they are better than others as well as those that are easily duped into believing falsehoods perpetuated by those without the populous’ best interest in mind.
Lee Altus and Gary Holt sound excellent playing off of one another, and coupled with Hunting and bassist Jack Gibson, their backing shouted vocals play wonderfully off of Zetro’s energy on “The Beatings Will Continue” in particular. Solid thrash metal has been lacking in 2021, so it only makes sense that some of the forebearers should come back to show everyone how it’s done.
Persona Non Grata is the band and Zetro’s best performance since Tempo Of The Damned with the band feeling like they have more energy than they have had in years. Get those neck braces ready, Exodus expect nothing less!
(released November 19, 2021 on Nuclear Blast)
Heavy Music HQ Rating:
Watch Exodus – “The Beatings Will Continue (Until Morale Improves)”