REVIEW: EXUMER – The Raging Tides (2016)


Reinvigorated German thrashers show us how it’s done

From the name (why can’t thrash bands ever spell?) and the logo it’s clear exactly what Exumer being to the party. And that’s even before listening to a note of “The Raging Tides”.

But just in case you still aren’t sure, along comes these four lines on “Catatonic” – which might be the best summing up of thrash ever: “Sticks and stones,” shouts Mem V Stein (calling it singing would be a stretch – this isn’t about melody and tone) “won’t break some bones/so you will have to fight”. This is followed a little later in the song with this little reprise: “Sticks and stones won’t break our bones/it’s you who has to die.”

And that, essentially, is the ethos of “The Raging Tides” in a nutshell. Stein and guitarist Ray Mensch have been present throughout all the incarnations of the band (who were originally formed in the mid 1980s, and split up for over 20 years before returning for 2012’s “Fire And Damnation”) and you can bet your life that “….Tides” is exactly the sound they they have dreamed of in all that time.

Because those concepts of experimenting with a sound and exploring other avenues are not for Exumer. Rather the 12 – if we include the bonus tracks here – cuts that make up the bands fourth record are nothing more and nothing less than a study in classic thrash.

It’s angry, it’s violent and it’s got it’s fists in the air and thankfully not a guttural vocal in earshot. Frankly anyone that has ever liked thrash metal will find something to enjoy here. Solos are fired out at breakneck speed, the lyrics deal with death, fire – and occasionally, as on “There Will Always Be Blood” it happily includes an appearance from Beelzebub too.

From its opening title track right through, there’s no let up in pace, or indeed quality. This is just a magnificent piece of glorious, and gloriously pure, thrash metal. There are some standout moments of course, not least “Dark Reflections” – which has echoes of Slayer – while “Brand Of Evil” which is heads down and horns up charger, are quite superb.

Even the bonus tracks could have been worthy additions. “Forever My Queen”, very much the pick, might only be short, but packs a mighty punch. It might be that this more groove orientated sound is a plan for album number five. Then again, the other one of the pair “Hostage To Heaven” positively drips with evil, so probably not.

There’s nothing original about “The Raging Tides” but there’s no reason to care about that. It’s a marvellous thrash metal record, and that is all it was ever supposed to be.

Rating 9/10

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