Tormentor Erich : Well look at this. In their current line up, Exodus did a re-recording of the legendary debut album 'Bonded By Blood'. This move raises questions of course. Questions like:
1) Was this necessary?
2) Can Rob Dukes handle the unique sound of Paul Baloff?
3) Why this different title and different cover?
4) What do we think of the result?
My answers to these questions are:
1) At first, when I just heard about this idea I thought "why?”. It seems like a trend, all these old bands that re-record their older material. What extra prize is in this for me? And to be quite honest, at earlier re-recordings like the ones from Testament and Destruction the result was not that satisfying. BUT…. then came the moment that Exodus pumped these great songs into my living room, and I was convinced from the very first note until the last. Gary Holt produced the whole thing and Andy Sneap mixed it. Together they translated 'Bonded By Blood' from 1985 to 2008, and they did it via the only way that was possible to do this right. Exodus did not mess up the song structures. The band laid down the tracks super fanatical and the absolute plus that 'Let There Be Blood' has is the production itself. The album has got a very powerful and dynamic sound, but they did not overdo this, and therefore a little bit of that typical and inherent eighties feeling is still available on this version. Or to put it in another way: the drums sound a bit more pounding, the bass has a lower/deeper sound and the riffs and solos cut even sharper through my speakers than before. Madness!
2) Negative. Rob Dukes cannot produce the same maniacal and out of tune screaming as done by Paul. BUT… Rob has a great Exodus orientated voice already from himself, so he fits in on this album very naturally. And Rob has listened very carefully to 'Bonded', because he does a lot of the strange Baloff screams, but in his own manner, and this gives the album an extra touch. And besides that, it is also very good to hear that Mister Dukes (just like the rest of the band) was very motivated in the studio. Because of this some extra power can be felt that makes the whole thing even stronger.
3) Guitar player Gary Holt already said it himself: "We have decided to call the re-recording 'Let there Be Blood'. We aren't trying to replace the original, that's impossible anyway. We are just giving these songs the benefit of a modern production, featuring the current line up.” And it is as simple as that.
4) I think that this is just great. I still listen to the old vinyl version from time to time, but this pounding 2008 CD version will give that old album some needed rest. 'Bonded By Blood' is according to me a blue print of what powerful thrash metal is all about. And Exodus has finally made the album ready for a new generation without stabbing the old version in the back. 'Let There Be Blood' makes me jump through the room like a madman, and it will not surprise me if this one will end very high in my year list.
Thrashers around the world: this album is your Metal Command!