Thrash, Spanish Guitar & Rob Halford Impressions, An Exhorder Review:
By M H Thomson

Exhorder is a band I’ve always known of but never really listened to until now. Before hearing this record my only knowledge of this group was that it was the main project of one Kyle Thomas, the singer in one of my all-time favourite bands Alabama Thunderpussy. To be perfectly honest with you I have no fucking clue why it’s taken me this long to get around to listening to them. Holy fuck is it good craic, the perfect blend of thrash, groove and southern sludge. Their new album Defectum Omnium is the focus of this article, here are my thoughts track by track:


Wrath of Prophecies:

A thrashy and groovy intro, initially thought it was going to be a short punchy minute-and-a-half intro song, but it kept going. Pat O’Brien’s guitar solo and leading interlude breaks things up well. Overall the song feels like something by The Haunted, but with an outro breakdown torn straight out of the Corrosion of Conformity playbook, heavily evocative of the intro to “Break the Circle”.

Under the Gaslight:

Production and vibe-wise wise this one continues to pull off the magic trick of feeling like some by Mastodon and The Haunted simultaneously. This tune has a generally more Southern metal feel to it though. Vocalist Kyle Thomas’ raspy southern accent is notably more prominent in this one, reminding me of both Johnny Thockmorton (his predecessor in Alabama Thunderpussy) and Phil Anselmo at various points throughout the track.

Forever and Beyond Despair:

A much more straightforward punky number right outta the gate, but switches to something more on the punky end of sludge than hardcore from the mid section onwards. The band's choice not to harmonise the outro riff really pushing that sludge feel. The descending guitar riff motif present throughout the tracks in various guises strings the whole song together nicely; appearing first as the pre-chorus riff and later in a slightly expanded form as the previously mentioned outro.

The Tale of Unsound Minds:

With a slower doomy intro, the Sabbath influences really start to show when the lyrics kick in on account of the very Ozzy Osbourne-esque vocal line intonation. Once the track gets going though it sounds as if Alabama Thunderpussy covered “Conjure” by Down barring the fast thrashy guitar solo breaking things up mid-track. The overall slower and bluesier feel of this tune is a nice change of pace from the much more frantic first three numbers.

Divide and Conquer:

Back to the faster punkier side of things, nice symmetry with the previous track, where “The Take of Unsound Minds” was slow and bluesier with a frantic thrashy interlude midway through this track does the vice versa. The chorus is a particular highlight, with great potential as a live sing-along, quite despite the vocal patterns passing resemblance to the verse from Dracula by Rob Zombie, it still kicks fucking arse. Short, sweet and to the point.

Year of the Goat:

Yay! Lofi black metal! … was my first thought upon hearing the psyche out (production-wise) of an intro and there are bits and pieces of said black metal feel peppered throughout this tune. It’s most notable in the chorus, beyond this is but another of Exhorders signature fast thrashy groovers and a catchy one at that. 


Taken by Flames:

Some tasty Dimebag style work with the whammy bar to kick things off in the all-too-short driving sludge intro. The track then (predictably) changes to a fast frenetic feel around about the minute and a half mark. The rest of the song just feels like a Judas Priest cover. Cool tune, but not their finest work.

Tracks 7.5 & 8:

Defectum Omnium:

The opening lingering bass frequency and monkish chanting immediately yells here’s something different in a great way. The somewhat haunting churchy vibe creates a nice uneasy tension. Alas, they do nothing with it, rather than build upon it into a cool doom riff or some such, the chanting fades and stops abruptly to make way for the thrash. It feels like they just tacked it on at the start with little thought given to how it will flow into the following tune.

Stolen Hope:

The thrashy start quickly makes way for the doomy sludge riff they should have built into in the first place. Their native New Orleans classic sludge sound (that of Phil Anselmo or Pepper Keenan’s writing style) is very much on display here and they do their hometown sound justice albeit in a slightly unremarkable fashion. And then to add insult to injury, through no fault of their own, rather that of the producer/mixer/masterer/whoever in charge of placing or this case misplacing the pregaps royally fucks the songs big ending with soaring vocals by robbing of its satisfying final note, which appears on the start of the following track. This is fine if you’re listening to the album all the way through but will rather tarnish the experience when randomly listening to this track mid-Spotify playlist as I’m sure many will.

Tracks 8.5 & 9:

Three Stages of Truth:

The slightly jarring last note of the previous tune rather ironically ungracefully leads us into a rather graceful and quite mournful acoustic guitar piece. The very busy folky fingerpicking-laden composition gives me an idea of what Opeth’s Mikael Akerfeldt would sound like playing Spanish guitar.

Lacing the Well:

This tune on the other hand is just another classic-sounding Exhorder track although this time with a heavy lean on the southern metal. This song more than any since “Under the Gaslight” makes it difficult for the listener to forget that Kyle Thomas sings for Alabama Thunderpussy.


This one is another of their fast-paced punkier style reminiscent of but not the same as “Divide and Conquer”, the bass and drum intro really sets things up nicely for the explosion into the heavier stuff. Some start-stop riffage playing against the verses keeps things moving without slowing proceedings. Some great gang chant vocals in the pre-chorus, again something I could see being a great live sing-along. All round it's yet another belter adding to the quite tall tally of sick songs on this record.


This song adds nothing new to the repertoire, bits of everything we've seen before on this record, fast, thrashy, elements of Judas Priest, the works. Still a cracking tune nonetheless, the grandiose drawn out end of the AC/DC set style outro is done brilliantly and sounds like it should have been the last song on the album but for some reason isn’t.

Your Six:

Musically this one sounds so alike Alabama Thunderpussy you’d swear blue it was co-written by Erik Larson, that is until about the halfway point with the onset of the guitar solo section that sounds like it’s off Mastodon’s Leviathan. The slow-burning main riff lumbers its weight into the pre-chorus and chorus riffs in a brutal yet seamless fashion. Kyle Thomas really uses his range in the later stages of this piece, getting some really nice bluesy high notes in and (for once on this record) does so without it sounding like a Rob Halford impression but rather a befittingly harrowing doom performance. A great way to close the record despite the outro of the previous song.


Whilst I had a few minor qualms with this record overall I think it is an amazing album. Kyle Thomas’ raw, scratchy screams and yells coupled with his decent vocal range blend incredibly well with the varying styles the band incorporate into their sound. The band's tight groovy sound had me hooked from note one, and the variety of styles they mix into it kept it an interesting listen. After some digging around on the Metal Archive I also learned this record was mixed and mastered in Sweden, which makes sense of the very The Haunted vibes I was digging production-wise. All told, I reckon Defectum Omnium is a bloody solid effort from Exhorder and an amazing record worth checking out.

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