You may remember me enthusing about my first Metal gig experience last June. The band was Exodus, the venue was The Underworld in Camden, and it was immense. So of course, when I heard they were to return on 5th March this year, the decision was already made – I was patently going to be present!
The place was even more rammed than last time, and the rest of the crowd were as ready as I was to come face to face with their allies in battle against all that is iniquitous. I say this knowing some people think of Metal as dark, undesirable – evil, perhaps. All I can do about that is assure you that this family is the most munificent, solid musical community I believe I’ve ever been a witness to. It’s genuinely comforting, and I consider it an honour to have been welcomed into this kinship.
But I digress…!
Unfortunately, I missed the first band, Striker, and arrived just as Lost Society (who hail from Finland) exploded onto the stage. Effortlessly slicing through each song as if each of the band was wielding a scythe in an overgrown field of rye, these guys managed to feed the ravenous horde before them. This music is their oxygen, their very life line… and with every breath, they are ready for MORE!
A good thing really, as following one of the quickest stage turnaround processes I’ve ever seen (this amazed me last June, and still does now – Exodus have THE best roadies!), it was time for the main event.
Exodus are genuinely loved, and the loyalty and frenetic enthusiasm of the UK fanbase has to be seen to be believed – the intensity of the music is mirrored in spectacular fashion by the at times hazardously insane antics of the crowd – both band and audience are at one.
Steve “Zetro” Souza enticed the crowd like a genial devil’s pizza stall proprietor. The sweating, ruddy faced masses packed in like human cattle howled for extra thrash metal topping.
Tom Hunting was particularly on fire that night, a veritable bombardment of drum skills, with a kick drum attack capable of causing double vision.
Every single track went down a storm – from “Blood In Blood Out” to “Piranha” to one of my personal favourites, “Toxic Waltz”, there wasn’t one moment of disappointment. The sound was top notch, too – everything pushed right to the limits, and perfectly so.
My heart is warmed further as the night goes on, as each of the band finds ways to have their own interactions with individual members of the throng – my companion and I experienced this for ourselves when Souza caught our eyes and pointed directly at us. It’s a very clever skill to be able to do things like that without a hint of it being forced. Lee Altus particularly enjoys eye contact with his audience, wide-eyed crazed looks are the order of the day for him, and he doesn’t even give a damn when there are hands all over his guitar, let alone allow it to affect his playing. These are pros, and on top of that they are authentic in their ardour.
The inclusion of “The Impaler”, a song which was written when Kirk Hammett was still in the band and is to be found on 2004’s “Tempo of the Damned” album was an unexpected and feisty morsel.
Exodus sealed the deal between themselves and their devotees when Souza declared “We’ll make you a promise. As long as you guys are always here, we’ll be back.” – I’ll hold you to that, gentlemen.