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Exumer: Fire and Damnation

Exumer is a strong German thrash metal band that formed all the way back in 1985. Unfortunately, they only have a small catalogue, mostly due to the usual drama of regular lineup changes and interpersonal problems. Some readers may remember that Exhumer released two classic mid-80s albums, Possessed by Fire (1986) and Rising from the Sea (1987). Not only were these works strong, they also helped spread the thrash sound and scene to Poland and Brazil. Since their early success, though, Exumer has fallen into deep musical inactivity. In 2008, however, vocalist Mem V. Stein and guitarist Ray Mensh brought the band back together to see whether they could still create strong music.

They can. Fire and Damnation, their first release in 24 years, is well worth the wait. I've been listening to it regularly over the last several days and I find it to be a very satisfying and heavy experience. The album begins with a killer title track that nods to the metal tradition of writing songs about feeling doomed to an eternity of misery. The chorus, "we were born to fire and damnation" comes with a nice mixture of chant and melody that fit the song's tone. It reminded me a little of Twisted Sister's "Burn in Hell," though without the anthem-like rhythms and the constant reminders to live for today. This is a song more about the all-too-human feeling of being stuck, unable to grow.

The rest of the album is equally solid, though occasionally the songs blend together because of their similar riffs, speeds, and drum beats. These guys are a thrash band, but they don't play up the punk angle enough in their sound. I also thought that the melodies in some of the closing tracks plodded in parts. Check out the last two tracks, "I Dare You" and "Tribal Furies" for examples of the way some of the vocal lines fall so closely to the rhythm that they don't stand out as much as they should. It's clear to me that these guys have mastered a very specific musical form, but I think a little more variety in the songwriting would have made this album stronger. Nevertheless, the highlights on this CD outweigh its weaknesses. I especially enjoyed the title track, "Fallen Saint" and "Devil Chaser."

Track Listing:
1. Fire and Damnation
2. Vermin of the Sky
3. The Weakest Limb
4. A New Morality
5. Waking the Fire
6. Fallen Saint 7. Crushing Point
8. Devil Chaser
9. I Dare You
10. Tribal Furies

Added: April 19th 2012
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Myspace Page
Hits: 1950
Language: english

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