When I call this record dangerous, that might be an understatement. Rather, it’s controlled violence waiting to break free and destroy. Track four, “Dust Eater,” will do this. Track five, “King’s End,” is the firestorm that follows. This spring, Exumer return with Hostile Defiance, arguably their best and most mature record to date.
Having formed in 1985, Exumer, alongside Kreator, Sodom, and Destruction, became the architects of German thrash. Hostile Defiance, Exumer’s fifth album, sounds lean, tight, and primed to kick ass. Instead of slowing down 30+ years later, these vets did the opposite: they ramped it up and raised the bar high.
Says singer Mem V. Stein:”We wanted to sonically progress, incorporating more melodic elements in the music as well as more rhythmic variety. … We are a lot braver trying to create an up-to-date and relevant sound that can easily stand alone in today’s thrash landscape without sounding trite or a throwback, and we’re challenging the listener not to get too comfortable with one specific feel, tempo, or pace. The result is a mixture of material comprising fast and thrashy numbers, melodic hooks, and mid-tempo songs.”
It’s hard to believe that frontman Von Stein is, in real life, a licensed master social worker. The record’s title refers to “Oppositional Defiant Disorder.” Symptoms include defying authority, heightened anger, and irritability. If that isn’t bad enough, it usually onsets during the already awkward teenage years. Read this: A pattern of anger. That’s Exumer. Defy authority? Can’t think of a better way to describe this record.
Standout tunes that rage the stage are “Hostile Defiance,” “Dust Eater,” “King’s End,” “Descent,” “Trapper,” “The Order of Shadows,” and “Vertical Violence.” I left out two original and two cover songs; that’s how good this disc is. The riffs, the speed, and the crunch factor are massive in scope and gel together well to create this cool wall of sound that brings to mind-80s-era Anthrax, Exodus, and Slayer.
And speaking of which, if I have one and only one criticism, it’d have to be the heavy Slayer vibe throughout. “Trapper” and “Descent” sound like songs not used on Seasons in the Abyss, but overall? Exumer killed it, an amazing effort here. Bonus tracks “He’s a Woman – She’s a Man” and “Supposed to Rot” close out the disc. Hostile Defiance is a thrashin’ good time; props to Exumer for such a great job here.