Home > Music > Exodus – Fabulous Disaster (1989)

Exodus – Fabulous Disaster (1989)

folderExodus with Paul Baloff wanted you dead. Exodus with Steve “Zetro” Souza might’ve wanted to toss you around and maybe break a few of your bones, but they were more about the fun. “Good violent friendly fun”, even. A few things come to mind about Fabulous Disaster that set it apart from earlier Exodus – it seems intentionally less aggressive, the vocalist has an entirely different approach, and there are a few experiments with songwriting – two extended songs and two covers. On the other hand, the overall emphasis on rhythm over melodic prowess remains, and the tempos are about the same. 1980s Exodus, the way I see it, is much more comparable in overall musical approach to a band like Anthrax or Testament than groups like Slayer. It seems to have served them well commercially – with enough underground “cred” to make them look appealing, but with a polished marketable sound, they seem to have sold decent volume during the late 1980s. And Fabulous Disaster is supposedly Exodus’s best selling album… although due to the intricacies of Soundscan, it’s hard to tell.

The first track (“The Last Act of Defiance”), while far from being the band’s signature song, pretty much is this band in a nutshell. After a brief monologue, the first few riffs rely on their bouncy rhythms to hook the listener, but it’s really Zetro who grabs most of my attention. His trademark screech actually sounds a bit like Marcel Schmier on Destruction’s first EP, and the two both share some mannerisms; to be fair, Zetro has a much better grasp of the English language than his Teutonic counterpart. The grooves get more pronounced in the title track (which has an intro riff reminiscent of what a new generation of jazz influenced metal bands would do in the early ’90s, and what the actual “groove metal” movement would do later), and in the hit single “Toxic Waltz”, which is the first song on this album to play up the humor angle. The groovier songs are all on the faster side of mid-paced, which makes for an interesting effect compared to stuff actually labelled as groove metal, such as Exodus’s albums with John Tempesta. Regardless, this is not a very fast or intense album, especially considering to the existence of Bonded by Blood.

Relatively limited extremity isn’t a bad thing, of course, even in the case of a known thrash metal band like Exodus. It’s really a matter of execution – for its first half, Fabulous Disaster alternates between being aggressive, humorous, endearing, and showcases some memorable material.  The second half, though, wears kind of thin – the main problem is that it repeats a lot of the ideas previously presented in the first half, but with poorer execution. Frontloading disappoints me, but what am I going to do about it? At least “Corruption” is a pretty good song given its position on the album. As it is, this album is in kind of an awkward spot for me – I usually want to listen to something either more or less aggressive. In other words, I don’t listen to a lot of ‘straight-ahead’ thrash, and when I do I usually want something like Megadeth’s leads or Overkill’s charismatic vocalist, or blatant power metal influence like Helstar or Realm. Of course, there’s always Bonded by Blood… which was actually one of the first things I wrote about for this site, back when I was still finding my voice. I don’t do first impressions posts anymore, I try to write longer reviews, I try to describe things in greater detail. Luckily for Exodus, I feel I’m giving this album a more coherent writeup than their debut.

Highlights: “Fabulous Disaster”, “Cajun Hell”, “Corruption”

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