Mandatory Monday: The Exodus Classic “Bonded by Blood”

Starting today there will be a new weekly feature here on Global Thrash Assault. Every Monday from this point on there will be a post called “Mandatory Monday.” What is “Mandatory Monday” you ask? Well every Monday I will highlight a great thrash metal album you should all listen to, it will either be an old school classic that many of you already love or a modern day gem that you may not have heard about. Either way this new feature is something I’m really excited about, and I hope you guys feel the same way.

To get things started I’m going to write about a Bay Area Classic, none other than the debut Exodus album “Bonded by Blood.” The release features the great front man Paul Baloff on vocals, along with bassist Rob McKillop, drummer Tom Hunting and the team of Rick Hunolt and the great Gary Holt on guitars. In 1985 this five piece line-up released what many people; including myself consider the best example of Bay Area Thrash. Of course we all know there are some really great Bay Area Classics, and this fact just makes this release from Exodus that much more impressive. There is something special about “Bonded by Blood” nearly 30 years later and it still has the same effect on fans today than it did when it was released, and with the ever changing trends in music that’s not something that can be said to often. When thinking about what makes “Bonded by Blood” so special there are a lot of things to consider. Maybe it’s the vicious and deadly lyrics that were performed by the late great Paul Baloff in a way that would make any poser cringe with horror. Perhaps it’s the fantastic riffs featured throughout the album that go so well with Tom Hunting’s pounding drums. Or is it the phenomenal solos performed by the “H Team” of Rick Hunolt and Gary Holt? You want to know what makes “Bonded by Blood” so fucking great? It’s all of the things mentioned above, mixed with a raw production that really captured the bands energy. Unfortunately Exodus have always been in the shadow of the “Big 4” but “Bonded by Blood” proves that the band thrashes harder than any of them. In fact on the “Bonded by Blood” album Exodus thrashes harder than any other band. Unbelievably if you go and see the Thrash Metal Legends today you will hear tracks like “Bonded by Blood” “Piranha” “No Love” and “Strike of the Beast” all in their set. These great tracks can be found on the “Bonded by Blood” album and it’s not too often a band plays that many tracks off their debut nearly 30 years later. This just cements that fact that Exodus recorded a timeless masterpiece and after all these years “Bonded by Blood” is as essential to fans today as it was in ’85.

Sadly the first Exodus album would be the last one to feature charismatic vocalist Paul Baloff. Soon after “Bonded by Blood” was released Baloff was replaced by Steve “Zetro” Souza of Legacy, and in the early 1990s Exodus disbanded. However in 1997 the group reunited and joining them was original vocalist Paul Baloff. Although Baloff never recorded another album with the band many fans we ecstatic just to see the front man on stage screaming the lyrics to songs he helped write in a way only he could. Sadly in 2002 fans mourned the death of Paul Baloff after the legendary front man passed away due to a stroke he had suffered.

 In 2008 Exodus re-recorded their debut album “Bonded by Blood.” With new art work and a new line-up the band recorded the tracks the same way they are played today and dedicated the release to their original vocalist Paul Baloff.

 I’ll conclude with quote by Gary Holt that can be found in the booklet of the “Let There Be Blood” release. The quote explains not only why the band re-recorded the classic but the importance of “Bonded by Blood”

“Why re-record BONDED BY BLOOD? It’s a question ive been asked more than once lately. Whether we are trying to replace the original classic. The answer is simple, no way. You could never replace BONDED BY BLOOD, nor would I try. Amidst two weeks of total chast, fistfights, and cabin thrashing we made an amazing piece of metal. To us, this is just our way of showing how much these songs still mean to us, how viable hey still are, and after all these years how much we still love playing them. They are my lifetime connection to Paul, Rick, Robbie, Tom and myself and our classic debut for the first time.

We recorded these songs the way we play them now. The fast is faster and the slow sometimes slower, the crunch even crunchier. Some things will never change. We still close our shows with STRIKE OF THE BEAST (although lately we tag SHOVEL HEADED KILL MACHINE at the end for the final blow), as we have for years. And these songs always have a place in our live set that will never change, nor will the fact the original is till the true classic, never to be topped by me in my lifetime. Consider this a companion recording, a reflection of our love for these songs today. And I think if Paul Could hear this he’d have one things to say, “Why So Heavy?””

Several days have passed since the 10th anniversary of Paul Baloffs death. Pay tribute to not only his legacy but the legacy of “Bonded by Blood” by blasting the album as loud and as proud as you possibly can.

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