Like a whirling dervish the returning album from German thrashers Exumer takes one to a sonic ecstasy that leaves a massive grin on the outside and within. Fire & Damnation is the first album since the proper return of the band n 2008 and its predecessor of 1987. It is a magnificent beast that shows no sign of aging within the band musically or in their aggressive energy, only a tighter mature sound to rival any thrash pretenders today. The album does not offer anything new or groundbreaking for the band let alone the genre but it does what all good albums should do, thrill the senses with bone crushing rock ‘n’ roll for the greatest satisfaction.
Formed in 1985 Exumer became one of the more exciting and essential German thrash metal bands joining the likes of Kreator and Sodom as an essential focus point for fans even if their contemporaries gained more of the attention. 1986 saw them release Possessed by Fire to be followed the year after by Rising from the Sea, both to acclaim and regarded by a vast many as two of the most important thrash albums of the time and since. Live too the band conquered all before them, the albums and shows finding a vast eager following from their homeland and in countries like Poland, Brazil and Europe in general. A fluctuating line-up and internal turmoil brought the band to an end in 1990 until band founders vocalist/bassist Mem V. Stein and guitarist Ray Mensh decided to bring the band back to life in 2008, though previously in 2001 Exumer returned for a one off show at the prestigious Wacken Open Air Festival. 2009 saw the band perform live through Europe and the US before attention turned to a new album the subsequent Fire & Damnation.
Completed by guitarist H.K., bassist T. Schiavo, and drummer Matthias Kassner, Exumer have not just made a return but with Fire & Damnation have announced they are back as strong and eager as ever. Consisting of ten songs the album released via Metal Blade Records April 11th lights up all the fires within and ticks all the boxes of what a good album should be, even if its length is too short. Aggressive and formidably direct the album also has a clarity and crispness from the production work of Waldemar Sorychta (Grip Inc., Therion, Sodom, Moonspell), that is fresh and invigorating. As mentioned it does not try to be anything different, just offering up what the band do best and to their strongest ability.
The opening title track storms the ear from the off its assault a raging burning rampage upon the senses. The band crushes and oppresses with riffs that sear the ear and rhythms that pound and bruise until complete submission. The song is immediately infectious and with Stein growling and shouting the lyrics with intimidating ease there is a seamless connection with the senses and heart. The groove and drive of the track is not the most original but with the anthemic group chorus and unrelenting attack plus the great controlled guitar eruptions the song is rock at its very best.
The following Vermin Of The Sky follows with barely a breath taken and if you are not paying attention can take over without notice. There is a similar attack and structure to the opener on this song with only a more intent inspection showing its diversities. This is probably the one issue if you really wanted to raise one against Fire & Damnation, the similarity across a lot of the tracks though against that one has to say that beneath the surface wave of sonic intrusion that vocally and musically the band brings a varied mesh of ideas and sounds, they just make you work for them.
The songs come thick and rapid upon the ear with all giving a deeply welcome and rewarding experience. The likes of The Weakest Limb and Crushing Point leave their recipients battered under the intense blanket of razor sharp and aggression fuelled aural consumption whilst the new reworkings of Fallen Saint and I Dare You from their first and second albums respectively, have a fresh and distinct sound that earns them a positive place amongst the newer songs.
The groove infested A New Morality and Waking The Fire along with the title song hit home the deepest and with the greatest infection o the album, though every track is a gem to feast upon continually, each an impressive result of each and every member leaving nothing in their musical locker to excite the senses to the deepest satisfaction.
Fire & Damnation is Exumer back hungry, fresh and making rock n roll that offers no more than pure unadulterated thrash pleasure.