"Fire & Damnation" marks the third release for veteran thrashers Exumer, and their first release since 1987. Of course, Exumer are just one of countless bands that have reunited over the past decade or so, and given the quality of some recent releases from other bands, it’s not unfair to be skeptical of this. Despite being a bit late to the game, Exumer’s comeback album is actually one of the stronger ones. Thrash has not been replaced by groove or overtly melodic passages. Instead, "Fire & Damnation" is 33 minutes of non-stop riffs.
Before even discussing the songs, the most noticeable part of this album is the quality of production. Given the improvement in technology since the 80’s, you would expect every band to have an insane guitar crunch, but it seems like only Exodus really managed to pull that off. Luckily, Exumer have put together an unbelievable guitar tone that rivals the new Exodus sound. This is complimented by the fantastic drum tone. The snare is high-pitched, but doesn’t suffer from the tinny sound that brutal death metal bands love. On top of this, original singer Mem Von Stein is back, and he sounds fantastic. His vocals aren’t extremely harsh, but they are still pretty heavy. The closest comparison is probably Mille Petrozza’s vocals on Hordes of Chaos.
The album kicks off with the title track, which sets the tone for the entire album. “Vermin of the Sky” is really not that different, but is another headbanging tune. As you might imagine, the rest of the album isn’t really any different. Despite this, the first half of the record is a lot stronger; the songs are more memorable and the riffing isn’t quite as generic. Unfortunately, some of the songs on the second half are a little too predictable. Luckily, however, this half of the album also has two of the more interesting songs, which are the re-recorded tracks “Fallen Saint” and “I Dare You”. Former vocalist Paul Arakari does vocals on “Fallen Saint” and, while not as good as Mem, he still does a decent job. Meanwhile, Mem completely destroys on “I Dare You”. This track really surprised me, as I hadn’t heard the original. The chorus is made to sing along to, and the tremolo picked riffing is perfect.
Simply put, Exumer know how to thrash. This album is somewhat of a modern version of Possessed by Fire, and that’s fine by me. I won’t drag out this review any further, because if you liked Exumer before, you’ll like them now.
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“Fire & Damnation"
“Vermin of the Sky”
“I Dare You”
“I Dare You”
4.2/5 or 84%
Written by Scott