EXODUS (1981–92, 1997–PRESENT). Paul Baloff (vocals, replaced by Steve Souza), Gary Holt (guitar), Kirk Hammett (guitar, replaced by Rick Hunolt), Geoff Andrews (bass, replaced by Rob Mckillop), Tom Hunting (drums, replaced by John Tempesta).
Exodus were one of the most influential thrash metal bands of the eighties. The band formed in San Francisco in 1981 and soon established themselves as one of the most ferocious of the new thrash bands, but the band lost major momentum when guitarist Hammett defected to Metallica. Still, their stunning Bonded by Blood debut, although released later than it should have been, is a mixture of punk ferocity and speed with metal bombast that clearly demonstrated that Exodus were true thrash pioneers.
Exodus was one of the first American bands to be influenced not only by the New Wave of British metal but also by the ferocity of hardcore and those bands that straddled both genres such as the Misfits and Motorhead, which led them to help develop thrash, but they were not as quick to record as other bands such as Metallica, so they are generally regarded as coming in the second wave of thrash, despite their being present at its conception. They could not maintain a consistent lineup. When Baloff was ousted in favor of Steve Souza (Testament) and Hunting was forced to leave for medical reasons, the band had recycled all the original members except for Holt, and the quality went downhill over a series of lackluster albums (Fabulous Disaster more than lived up to its title).
At this point, Exodus seemed as though they were just going through the motions and by the early nineties the band wisely decided to call it quits. A promising reunion with original singer Baloff was working well until his tragic death from a stroke in 2002. The band continued with the return of Souza, along with the “classic” lineup of Holt, Mckillop, Hunolt, and Hunting. They continue to record
to this day, making some of the best music of their career, although many purists still prefer the Baloff years. Exodus are rightly regarded as one of the pioneers of thrash, although they are rarely credited as such.
Discography: Bonded by Blood (Combat, 1985); Pleasure of the Flesh (Combat, 1987); Fabulous Disaster (Combat, 1989); Impact is Imminent (Capital, 1990); The Lesson in Violence (Relativity, 1991); Force of Habit (Capital, 1991); Another Lesson in Violence Live (Century Media, 1997); Tempo of the Damned (Nuclear Blast, 2004); Shovel Headed Killing Machine (Nuclear Blast, 2005); The Atrocity Exhibition (Nuclear Blast, 2007); Let There Be Blood (Zaentz Records, 2008); Exhibit B: The Human Condition (Nuclear Blast, 2010)