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Review: Exodus - Shovel Headed Kill Machine
Shovel Headed Kill Machine

Label: Nuclear Blast Records
Year released: 2005
Duration: 52:56
Tracks: 10
Genre: Thrash Metal


Review online: March 17, 2006
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers' Rating
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Rated 3.86/5 (77.14%) (42 Votes)

A lot of back and forth about this one. Some people hail this as a return to form for Exodus after the divisive "Tempo Of The Damned", and again, some hate this album, deriding it as 'Groove Thrash' – whatever that means. I have to come down on the side of the first group, as I think this album is pretty fucking cool.

I was never a huge Exodus fan back in the day. I had "Fabulous Disaster" and "Impact Is Imminent", and I thought they were heavy but dull, with bad, bad vocals. But I didn't ever get Exodus' 'classic' albums until recently. I will admit I thought "Tempo Of The Damned" was a big, steaming load of yapping crap that I found pretty much intolerable, so I was prepared to hate this. But I like this album: the riffs are heavy, the production is much better, and the vocals are neither too harsh nor too clean. I wanted to settle this in my own mind, so I spun "Bonded By Blood", "Pleasures Of The Flesh" and then "Kill Machine" all in a row, so I could easily pick out the differences in style. I have to say I was pretty surprised, as aside from the differing production jobs, all three albums sounded exactly the fucking same – same riff style, same time signatures, same kinds of breaks and leads, same metric tendencies to the vocals, all of it. If you think there is some big divergence from the Exodus of old here, then believe me when I say you are imagining things. "Kill Machine" is an almost perfect recreation of the old Exodus sound.

Overall, my only complaint about this album is that I wish it was a little faster. Exodus have this rep as being the fastest, gnarliest Thrash band ever, but really, if you go back and listen to the old stuff, it wasn't all that fast. Make no mistake, there are some good thrashers on here, but just a bit too much of this album is just a bit too slow. It's still heavy as fuck, so the riffage is still enjoyable, but I wanted an album with a name like this to really rip my face off. It got stomped on a few times, and I maybe got my ear yanked on, but not much face-rippage to be had here, or not enough. This is a cool album, and if you like metal at all you will enjoy it, just don't expect a masterpiece, as this is just a good, solid album from the band that won't die.

More about Exodus...
Review: Blood In, Blood Out (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Bonded by Blood (reviewed by Christian Renner)
Review: British Disaster: The Battle of '89 (Live at the Astoria) (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Exhibit B: The Human Condition (reviewed by Hermer Arroyo)
Review: Exhibit B: The Human Condition (reviewed by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein)
Review: Persona Non Grata (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Pleasures Of the Flesh (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: Tempo of the Damned (reviewed by Christian Renner)
Review: The Atrocity Exhibition... Exhibit A (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Interview with drummer Tom Hunting on July 13, 2012 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
Interview with vocalist Steve "Zetro" Souza on April 9, 2016 (Interviewed by Luxi Lahtinen)
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