Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.
Think of This Exodus Album as Part 1 of a 2 Part Musical Work
The Atrocity Exhibition: Exhibit A which was released in 2007 is titled this way because guitarist Gary Holt mentioned that there were plans to release Exhibit B soon but that album wasn’t released until 2010. This album’s title comes from a novel of the same name by J.G. Ballard which came out in 1970. Exhibit A is also the second Exodus studio album to have Rob Dukes performing lead vocals. The album is sometimes titled The Atrocity Exhibition… Exhibit A but for the purposes of this review we will use the other mentioned spelling of the title.
"Riot Act" Official Music Video
About the Songwriting
Stylistically, this album uses some of the same elements that we heard on Tempo of the Damned and Shovel Headed Kill Machine. Jack Gibson on this album really shows on improvement on bass guitar and you can notice if you listen closely enough. “Call to Arms” starts off this album and it is just a short instrumental that actually builds up to be something more melodic than you may think. The second part of this song sounds like something that we would hear from the band Kreator in the mid-2000s. It is tough to say which of these bands influenced the other because they both came around at the same time, with only a few years difference at the most. One con to this album is probably the length of the songs. A few tracks clock in at over ten minutes long which is going to affect the patience of many listeners that expect thrash metal songs to be much shorter. If you are looking for an album that has thrash metal songs that are fast and clock in at over 3 minutes or less on average per song, you will for the most part be disappointed. The Atrocity Exhibition: Exhibit A is a thrash metal album with political based lyrical themes along with just a bit of musical experimentation. That experimentation exists in the last song of the album which is divided into two parts. The first part is “Bedlam 1-2-3” and it lasts about almost 8 minutes. There is a long period of silence after that before the second part of the track comes in. This second part is actually a country music style version of the song "Bonded by Blood" called "Bonded by Banjo" and it is done for the purposes of parody. Many listeners will shake their heads in disbelief at such a long gap before the songs but analyzing this as a long time Exodus fan, I can say that the band wanted to be creative in a different way. This first part is the thrash metal part that builds up with a mid-tempo riffing pattern before increasing in speed in usual Exodus fashion. In terms of speed and vocal aggression this album delivers on those two categories.
"Bonded by Banjo" (A Parody version of the song Bonded by Blood)
Further Detailed Analysis of The Atrocity Exhibition: Exhibit A
If you did not enjoy the style of the two previous albums before this one, then you will definitely not enjoy this Exodus album either. Exodus in terms of thrash metal bands may be a challenge for some to sit through their entire albums because they have such razor sharp riffs that are present throughout much of their music. The one type of song that Exodus really doesn’t have is ballad style songs and this may really disappoint some metal fans. Exodus is all about full speed ahead thrash metal and they are definitely not shy to show it. It seems to me that no matter what musical experimentation that Exodus does, some fans will nitpick and complain. An open minded listener of thrash metal will really appreciate this album for its musical experimentation as well as the ferocity of the riffs. Drummer Tom Hunting provides the lead vocals on the hidden track "Bonded by Banjo" which provides a funny and light way to end one of the heaviest albums in the career of Exodus.
© 2021 Ara Vahanian