EXODUS – Persona Non Grata

EXODUS - Persona Non Grata
  • 8.8/10
    EXODUS - Persona Non Grata - 8.8/10


Label: Nuclear Blast
Release date: November 19, 2021

User Review
5.5/10 (2 votes)

“Yesterday Don’t Mean Shit” – most Metal fans should know who that song is by. If someone happens not to know – it is the third track off Pantera’s final release Reinventing The Steel and its lyrics are about the turn of the 21st century. Yesterday don’t mean shit, what’s over is over – Pantera sure got that right. And there is a Metal band that confirms it  – that band is called Exodus: back in the good ole 80s, Exodus were a bunch of long-haired boys whose purpose number one was to create fast and aggressive Metal music and consume huge amounts of booze in order to be able to achieve their goal. After numerous lineup changes and two hiatuses, they came back with their 2004 album Tempo of the Damned, which could also be seen as the transition phase between the old and new Exodus. New, that is perhaps a tiny bit less fast than the stuff from the 20th century albums, but definitely more complex, more brutal and more powerful, and just as much of a killer. Most Thrash Metal fans will admit that Exodus are just kickass, be it the 20th or the 21st century Exodus. And in the wake of such bands as Slayer calling it a day back in 2019, Metallica not having released any real Thrash since 1988 and Megadeth kicking their original bassist out in May 2021, the freshly released record Persona Non Grata by Exodus is probably the hottest fast Metal release in a long while. By far!

The album starts off with the title track and it doesn’t even take half a minute until the 21st century Thrash madness is unleashed. It is mad how Zetro’s voice barely changed since the 1989 classic Fabulous Disaster. Some claim that he is the Bon Scott of Thrash Metal… and that is a very good way of putting it. Those who love the low frequencies will appreciate the short breakdown where Jack Gibson proves that if Exodus were to find a better bassist back in the 90s they’d probably need to look in other galaxies. 7:30 of speed interspersed with slower tempos, topped with high class solos – this is only the first song. The following song “R.E.M.F.” (or Rear Echelon MotherFuckers) is quite a typical 21st century Exodus song – because it is about war. It is also packed with a lot of energy that feels best enjoyed at full volume. With speakers turned up to ten it is going to be an immensely thick wall of Thrash Metal sound. Moshing to this song may result in some bruises.

The album goes on and it has all that can be expected from Exodus – the speed, the brutality and the aggression, all of it topped with a whole lot of heaviness. That would have not been possible without Tom Hunting’s excellent, rock-solid drumming. Hopefully he kicked all cancer cells as if they were his bass drums! It should be of no surprise either that Gary Holt and Lee Altus deliver killer riffs and crazy solos on almost every single track. Although, there is an exception to this rule – it is the 9th track titled “Cosa del Pantano”. That is some nice acoustic blues with a lot of Indian/Oriental feel to it, it also does sound a bit like “Handful of Rain” by Savatage. It is however the following track that the fans of the 20th century Exodus may look forward to hearing the most. Titled “Lunatic Liar Lord” it features two guests appearances, one of them being Kragen Lum from Heathen, the other one… no one but Rick Hunolt himself who still is a part of the Exodus family, despite having left the band in 2005. It’s nice to see one of the deadliest Thrash Metal lead guitarists of the 80s to be back, even if it’s just for one song. And that sinister outro can definitely bring some songs by Pantera to mind.

Diversity is abound on Persona Non Grata. Some of the lead parts in the 11th track titled “The Fires of Division” have a lot of a Rainbow feel to them. Perhaps Ritchie Blackmore himself is going to check this album one day. Another track that deserves a fair bit of attention is the 8th one, titled “Clickbait” – really aptly. That song sounds much like “March of the Sycophants” off Exhibit B: The Human Condition, but despite so many similarities it is a brand new song. There are also some dark, quite Goth sounding songs to be found here, like the 5th track “Prescribing Horror” that has some Slayer sound to it (mostly South of Heaven). Also the following track “The Beatings Will Continue (Until Morale Improves)” is definitely an interesting one since it is the longest title on the album and the song only lasts three minutes. But everyone who loves their Thrash knows that that is plenty of space to be packed with Metal epicness.

Overall, Persona Non Grata is an album no less fabulous than the 80s Disaster. Perhaps Exodus should follow the Iron Maiden’s example and have Rick Hunolt rejoin them. Since Iron Maiden have been doing fine with three guitarists for over two decades, why shouldn’t Exodus succeed? Thrashers across the planet will sure love to see the famous H-Team tour the world again. Since Lee Altus has been doing a great job since 2005, perhaps the H-Team should be renamed as the HAH Team – that could be a reference to the magical 80s when Exodus were a bunch of happy Thrashers who’d always party and play faster and more aggressive than anyone else… all that while being silly in the most Metal way possible. And it would still be the mighty Exodus of the 21st century. For now: everyone make sure to give this album a blast!


  • Miłosz Mikołaj Nizioł

    Miłosz is a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. He was born somewhere in Europe and now lives elsewhere in Europe. Miłosz is a writer and it has always been his passion. Aside from that, Miłosz is also a bass player - back in his UK days he played in various bands, some of which made it to have their place in the history of Metal; this includes an English high speed Thrash Metal act Rager that got mentioned in Contract in Blood: A History Of UK Thrash Metal (Glasper, I., 2018).   When enjoying live music as a member of the audience, Milosz never says no to circle pits and a good wall of death. Besides Metal, Milosz has a very wide range of interests that don't need to be specified here since they're not about Metal. One of them can be, actually: Milosz LOVES coming up with parodies of various songs lyrics.   Milosz's Top 25 bands (in the following order) are: The Beatles Deep Purple & Black Sabbath Queen ]v[ E G A D E T ]-[ (until 24.05.2021, but still) Judas Priest Iron Maiden (first three albums mostly) Twisted Sister Mötley Crüe KISS (preferably with Ace and Peter) Exodus Overkill Pantera Rainbow (and DIO of course) Savatage Running Wild Testament Pink Floyd ABBA Red Hot Chili Peppers Death Dire Straits Alestorm Motörhead

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