Review: Exhorder ‘Defectum Omnium’

Let’s be brutally honest, when most people think of the band Exhorder, they will immediately cast their mind back to the 1990-released Slaughter In The Vatican, an album full of chugging guitar riffs, blistering tempos and insane double kick drums, which should have led them to bigger and better things, as it’s a stone cold classic!!!

Exhorder 'Defectum Omnium' Artwork
Exhorder ‘Defectum Omnium’ Artwork

Fast forward twenty-nine years, and they released only their third album, the utterly brilliant Mourn The Southern Skies but this time, thankfully, we haven’t had to wait quite so long for the next instalment, well, five years isn’t too bad for their fourth album Defectum Omnium, which is the Latin phrase for ‘the failure of all’.

Frontman Kyle Thomas explains ‘the world is a dumpster fire, and we are all complicit, and WE are the virus to the earth’ in a heavy nod to the global pandemic that saw the world stop. This album really does have something for everyone, whatever genre you like, and from the opening blast of Wrath Of Prophecies you immediately realise what you’ve been missing from a band who are truly exceptional. The middle riff and solo from Pat O’Brien sets a high bar that is repeated across the album which has more of nod back to the bands inception with the presence of more punk and thrash.

A screaming vocal, over a pounding bass line from Jason VieBrooks beckons forward the next track Under The Gaslight, which develops into a thick New Orleans groovy little number before the immense solo dominates the song once again making it all gel together so well. They go back to the humble beginnings with the thrashier Forever And Beyond Despair, a track that is bound to be a crowd favourite with the slower mid-section dissecting the song, before it explodes into life once again.

Exhorder have always been a band hard to label, which isn’t a bad thing in my eye, and this album crosses a few genres, listening to The Tale Of Unsound Minds with its strong NOLA doom influence, it could well be from a Down or Crowbar album, but then midway it goes off like firework with a scintillating solo, before coming back to earth to batter and bruise the listener.

If Defectum Omnium doesn’t catapult them into the hearts and souls of metalheads everywhere, then I don’t know what will, as this is a clear album of the year contender…

They have taken their time to write an album that hasn’t just been done on autopilot as it is much like a rollercoaster about to take you off on a crazy ride, so you’d better strap in as Divide And Conquer hits those high expectations, before recently released single Year Of The Goat grabs you by the throat and shoves their unrelenting suffocating high tempo directly into your face. It’s one hell of song with Thomas on top form. 

Taken By Flames is a darker song with a haunting melody, before all hell lets loose and the riff comes out of nowhere to take the song to another dimension, followed by Defectum Omnium – Stolen Hope, a song designed to rip your soul out with its epic beginning and heavy doom influence. It’s slow and brooding, adding another dimension to the album.

Three Stages Of Truth – Lacing The Well is another one of those songs with a stand out NOLA groove seamlessly running through it and then the bass takes over on the intro of punk/thrash number Sedition, a short, fast and aggressive track, which is killer from start to finish, before Desensitized reminds you of Exhorder’s quality, just in case you’d forgotten, something that is extremely hard to do.

The album ends with Your Six which seems to combine all the other tracks elements into one; heaviness, aggression, venom, mystery and melody, and it finely encapsulates where Exhorder are presently at. If Defectum Omnium doesn’t catapult them into the hearts and souls of metalheads everywhere, then I don’t know what will, as this is a clear album of the year contender.

Label: Nuclear Blast Records
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Scribed by: Matthew Williams