It’s been in this decade that we’ve become incredibly familiar with a certain description that many bands aspire to embody: old school. So many different bands across all of metal have strived so much to capture the sound that was given to us time and time again in the 80s and the 90s as extreme metal really found it’s sound with more “commercial friendly” hitting the radios and capturing the hearts of many. We’ve seen countless acts attempt to bring back the classic sound of death, black, and thrash metal to varying degrees of success, but what would happen if a classic act suddenly rose from the grave that could bring that authentic old school feeling into the modern world without a hitch? As if to come back to answer just that, Exhorder delivers us an album that’s as f*cking punishing as it is an absolute riot to listen to!
I’d be lying to you if I said that “Mourn the Southern Skies” felt like a release that leaped right out of the 90s just a few years after Exhorder split at first in 1993 as listening to any of these songs demonstrate just how much Exhorder has matured in just about every aspect. From the songwriting to the performance to the high stakes energy that never lets up to the unbelievable levels of badassery that come flowing out of every ounce of “Mourn the Southern Skies”, this is the sort of release that I never would’ve expected out of this band but f*ck me sideways if it isn’t f*cking awesome! It all comes together to bring forth a truly awesome mix of heaviness and metal excellence that only a classic heavyweight like Exhorder could deliver in such high quality.
We’re treated to magnificent works of some of the heaviest kind of riffage with melodies that hook you right in as to never let you go without spilling a ton of blood. And even then “Mourn the Southern Skies” refuses to go out with dropping bodies and leaving no prisoners as we come to the end of the epic title track finale. It’s the vocals are that meant to get your blood boiling the very instant they enter the fray as they do no less than absolutely devastate with immense fire and presence that shows us just what it means to be old school while still learning from modern times along the way. Then the drums could crack open the very sky and peel away at the crust of planets with how much power they bring to the table as we constantly bang our heads to their devilish rhythms that are all but hypnotic and intoxicating. Combine it all and we’re greeted with an apocalyptic album that deserves as much recognition for how much Exhorder has reinvented themselves for this beast as much as the grandeur that never once dissipates as “Mourn the Southern Skies” does no less than stun and amaze.
There is are sometimes no guarantee that what has been laid to rest won’t rise back up to stalk the earth once more like it did before its first death, and it’s with Exhorder that we see a beautifully destructive example of such. Ounce for ounce, “Mourn the Southern Skies” has everything that so many people have been clamoring about for years now and I couldn’t think of a better act that could bring it back in such glorious fashion as to leave nothing in its wake but scorched earth and it couldn’t be any more satisfying!
“Mourn the Southern Skies” releases on September 20th via Nuclear Blast Records! You can preorder the album via multiple sources here, and listen to the single, “Hallowed Sound”, via YouTube below.
1. My Time
3. Hallowed Sound
4. Beware of the Wolf
5. Yesterday’s Bones
6. All She Wrote
8. The Arms of Man
9. Ripping Flesh
10. Mourn the Southern Skies