Exhorder – Mourn The Southern Skies ( 2019 Nuclear Blast Records)

March 15, 1992, New Orleans own  Exhorder  released their album, “The Law” ,  the follow up to that amazing album followed in 2019. What, 2019, is that right ? Has it really been 27 years since these pioneers have put out any new material ? Unfortunately, it has been 27 years, 6 months, and 5 days, but who’s counting. The most important thing is that Exhorder  is back, and they pick up right where the left off on their third offering, “Mourn The Southern Skies”. The two constants in the gritty bayou outfit, Kyle Thomas  and Vinnie La Bella,  lead they way for Exhorder , and they enlisted the help of some of the top musicians around with the additions of bassist Jason VieBrooks Heathen , Grip Inc ) , drummer Sasha Horn Forbidden , Novembers Doom ) , and the biggest guitar free agent available, Marzi Montazeri  Heavy As Texas ). This is the a group that collectively, has an edge to them, a chip on their shoulders, and more so something to prove to the world, and the movement is spearheaded by Thomas and  La BellaKT  and The Godfather  are the perfect checks and balances system, with Thomas  being the polished, presidential like gentleman, and La Bella  opting for a Kenny Powers  like approach, as in forget safe and sane, lets get dumb and dangerous. This is not a jab at anyone here, this is the perfect example of yin and yang , but make no mistake about it, “Mourn The Southern Skies” is a very calculated and direct shot, fired across the bow of the music industry, and a letter of intent for what is to come. 

The album kicks off with “My Time” , a fast and furious summation for the blue collar roots the band, and most fans can relate to. It is an anthem for being stuck in a dead end job, breaking your back, dealing with the daily manual labor drama queens that are on every shop floor in America, and realizing that “your time” is the time that matters, make the most of it, make yourself  happy, and everyone else can go fuck themselves. The razor sharp chops that La Bella  brought to the table in the early days of the band are all over the album. He has had quite a while to stockpile riffs and arrangements over the bands hiatus, and he’s unleashing a little taste of what he’s been hoarding.  Throw  Montazeri’s  soulfulness on top of that and you got yourself a dangerous meeting  son!  The addition of  Sasha Horn  on drums sets the tempo and paints the musical map for the thrash and groove landscape that is “Mourn The Southern Skies” , while VieBrooks  adds a thunderous low end like no other. The bass is devastating from start to finish, and coupled with Horn  the rhythm section is in perfect hands. They build  an indestructible foundation, allowing the guitars to do what they are supposed to do, carving up  this album track after track. “Beware The Wolf ”  encompasses this, and is one of the real burners on the record. One of the many tracks that shows the range and ability KT  is capable of pulling off.  ” Yesterday’s Bones ”  from the rip, has that Nawlins crunch that  The Godfather,   Vinnie La Bella  doesn’t get nearly enough credit for. He started it many years ago, and had it perfected long before many borrowed and tried to tweak it for themselves. The back and fourth between Marzi  and  Vinnie  is what is hopefully,  a dynamic guitar duo for a long time to come.  Between these two, New Orleans and half of Texas may not be able to come up with a riff again. While we are geekin out over these here fellas playin the guitar,  lets really give  Montazeri  his due.  Marzi  may be a secret to many in the metal world, hell maybe in the music industry in general,  but there is no denying his passion,  or ability to deliver the goods.






Overall,  I give ” Mourn The Southern Skies ”  a  10/10.  This is a modern masterpiece from start to finish. Tracks that really stand out are the ominous ” The Arms of  Man “.   It  has a serious eerie undertone going on, with that southern twang  piercing  your  ears,  and KT delivering a monster performance vocally.  The solo ties it all together , and leaves the listener wanting more.  For  all the thrash “elitists”  out there crying this isn’t a thrash record,  get over  yourselves,  Exhorder gives you ” Ripping Flesh ” , which features former drummer Chris Nail. It is a time machine of sorts. It is about as old school Exhorder  as you can get. It  has blistering  guitars,  frantic drums, and the call to mosh it up for old times sake. The song that really surprises is the title track, ” Mourn The Southern Skies “.  It’s got some nice acoustic guitars out front,  with and undercurrent of electricity and groove underneath,  exploding through to the forefront.  This is the song that puts it all together, and showcases what  Thomas  is vocally.  I have never heard  KT  sound better than he does on this song, as he gives ya some growls,  some gravelly blasts, and his range climbs throughout.  This has kind of a  Floodgate  feel to it, and is amazing to see the band as a whole shine.  This incarnation of the band is tight. The whole vibe of the current day  Exhorder  is family, and there’s  nothing more important  than family.  They give it their all to the  legions of  fans that would not let their voices go unheard. You wanted the Kings back,  you got them!  This was 27 years in the making, and it did not disappoint at any turn. I don’t  think  KT   or Vinnie  would  have allowed that to happen.  Here’s to the hope the  Godfather  has   27  more years of riffs built up and stored, and if a day comes that he can’t go anymore, he finds a prodigy worthy of carrying on the  La Bella  tradition of shred.  I’d like to see a guy just like  Vinnie,  ya know, a man’s man. A guy who really sticks out, almost like a Vito  type character, cigar in hand, and bringing the crunch!  ” Mourn The Southern  Skies”  may not only be the greatest comeback album of the year,  it may just very well be the greatest comeback album of  all time…  GO  FUCK YOURSELF



Track  Listing

1 –  My  Time

2 –  Asunder

3 – Hallowed  Sound

4 –  Beware  The  Wolf

5 – Yesterday’s  Bones

6 –  All  She  Wrote

7 –  Rumination

8 – The  Arms  Of  Man

9 – Ripping Flesh

10 – Mourn  The  Southern  Skies


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