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Review of the Album Tempo of the Damned by Thrash Metal Band Exodus

Updated on February 14, 2021
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Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

You Are About to Hear the Strongest Album in the Career of Exodus

In the long career of American thrash metal band Exodus, some fans may not remember their 2004 studio album called Tempo of the Damned. Other than their debut album Bonded by Blood in 1985, this is the album that I’ve had the most musical exposure to. The album has the raspy vocals of Steve Souza who was the vocalist of the band Testament from 1983 to 1986. The album is a solid thrash metal release particularly the title track which has one of the strongest finishes especially in the vocal department.

I have previously tried to make the point that earlier albums such as Fabulous Disaster are not as a good as they are said to be but that depends on a person’s musical tastes.


How Does the Album Tempo of the Damned Begin?

The album starts with the song called Scar Spangled Banner. The song is a criticism of the American government and its ideals. Although when the Pledge of Allegiance is uttered, it seems that often times, America worships war as its soldiers are sent off to fight for world domination and the rise of the military industrial complex. I think that if fans read the lyrics, they will see that the song is trying to say that America is indifferent to the needs of its population and that it is a violent and belligerent nation. Going into Memorial Day in 2018, hopefully many of us can remember the brave sacrifices made by US troops even though there have been some unjustified wars that America has been involved in. War is My Shepard is a song that is critical of the religious establishment as the song is about a proud soldier that is ready to march off to war to defend his country. Blacklist is a very well done song about someone that is about to pay the price because he has been very dishonest and disloyal to someone that he knows. However, the term blacklist wouldn’t just apply to humans but humans can also sort of boycott products. Whatever you do, don’t be disloyal or dishonest to anyone especially of that person is a business partner. Even the mid-tempo songs in this album are worth a listen!

Note: it is now the end of 2019 and after hearing albums such as Bonded by Blood, Pleasures of the Flesh, and fabulous Disaster, listening to 2004’s Tempo of the Damned lets listeners know that Exodus has established a more modern sound in their music with aggressive songs that really fit in very well!

Other Musical Influences in the Album Tempo of the Damned

The song Throwing Down is a sort of mid-tempo song that the band Annihilator would have written something similar just two years earlier in 2002. The guitar tone on this song is crunchier and there is a shouting part similar to Fear Factory as Steve Souza keeps repeating the words “throwing down.” Impaler is a song in which the middle riff has a similarity to Metallica’s song Trapped Under Ice. Impaler was a song that was written in the early years of Exodus and it was originally planned to be on their debut album Bonded by Blood. However, that plan did not work out that way when Kirk Hammett took the idea for the main riff with him when he left Exodus in 1983.

Other Great Heavy Metal Bands of a Similar Style to Exodus

Holy Moses
Sacred Reich
Mokoma (groovy thrash with Finnish lyrics)
Hateframe (disbanded)


How is the Rest of the Album Tempo of the Damned?

Shroud of Urine has an interesting classically influenced part in it. The song is a huge criticism of Christianity so some people may be offended by this song. Some people just don’t really believe in what Christianity tries to teach because they are skeptical of there being a GOD or a Heaven. The very catchy song called Forward March is about what happens to some of us when we try to move forward in life and take that extra step. It seems that life does what it can to push us back into poverty, mediocrity or whatever lower level it can. But then we have to move forward and try to smash those roadblocks that are holding us back. Also, being successful and rich is relative because it means different things to different people. Although Exodus is not as good in the thrash metal department as Metallica, their longevity pretty much goes father because they formed back in 1979 making them one of the earliest thrash metal bands in the US. The blues influenced song Culling the Herd is a song about the fact that something should be done to clean garbage off the streets and reduce the amount of people that are poor. But reducing poverty in America is very tough when the capitalist system dominates. Sealed With a Fist is a song about a marriage that has gone totally wrong as the woman is trying to get her revenge on her husband that has given her a hard. There is no wedding bliss in this scenario for sure. The woman knows that her husband can’t live without jealousy so she is trying to take advantage of this. The album Tempo of the Damned is one of the best thrash metal releases by an American band in the decade of the 2000’s and later along with Havok’s Unnatural Selection and Time’s Up. The strongest songs in Tempo of the Damned are the title track obviously along with Blacklist, Throwing Down, and Forward March.

The title track of this album is the best way to end the album Tempo of the Damned

Tempo of the Damned is the song that I have listened to the most from this album and it is one heck of a way to end the most complete album of Exodus’ career! I’ve heard the band’s debut Bonded by Blood but that album cannot even compare to the musical creativity we hear on this album. Tempo of the Damned ends with a bunch of speed, fury, and the vocals of Steve Souza when he says “bow to the Tempo of the Damned!” However, to say that Tempo of the Damned is a straightforward thrash album is just not the case because the band brings awareness to important social issues and they do a very effective job instead of writing songs about Satan and religious cults. Their lyrics are very socially aware just like their neighbors from Oakland, Testament. THIS is the way that American heavy metal should be to compete with Europe and Japan.

"Throwing Down"

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"Scar Spangled Banner"

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"Forward March"

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This content reflects the personal opinions of the author. It is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and should not be substituted for impartial fact or advice in legal, political, or personal matters.

© 2018 Ara Vahanian


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