Great Metal Albums of 1987: Exodus- Pleasures of the Flesh

When I heard that Exodus had come out with a new album in 1987, my first thought was to whether they would still astound the world with their extremely fast playing. With their debut album, “Bonded By Blood” and seeing them supporting Anthrax the year before, I was astounded that mortal men could play so fast. A point I made in “Rock and Roll Children.” Therefore, when I got to listen to “Pleasures of the Flesh,” I did so with that thought in mind.

Original album cover

Even before the album came out, there was some turmoil and controversy. First, lead singer Paul Balof was fired from the band and was replaced by Steve Souza. Then there was the controversy of the album cover. The one directly above was the cover the band intended to use and it was the one which appeared in metal magazines when the album was announced. However, it was changed to the cover at the very top of the page. I’m not sure if the change was the record company’s idea because they got cold feet about the original cover or it was something else. I see nothing wrong with the cover.

Now to answer the question: Did Exodus continue to astound the world with extremely fast playing on “Pleasures of the Flesh?” My answer that in the case of the first three songs, the answer is a definite yes. All three of those songs are at the breakneck speed that Exodus was becoming famous for. In addition, Souza’s vocals was able to keep up with the rest of the band. He proved to be a welcome change. However, the band actually slow right down to a more mainstream metal sound on the fourth track, “Brain Dead.” Don’t get me wrong, it’s still an excellent song and it’s good that they change it up a little but in Exodus’s case, it’s almost going totally the other extreme. Maybe they intended it as a shock effect after the furious mosh of the first three songs.

One reason why it might have been a shock trick is that things go back to extreme metal speed on “Faster Than You’ll Ever Live to Be.” This one is probably the fastest song on the album and the band handles it all quite comfortably. Plus there is some cool guitar solos at the end. That has me wondering about the seven plus minute long title track. Was this meant to be their concept song? There are lots of animal sounds at the beginning before it goes into a fast but not too fast intro. While fast in many parts, the speed is not sound barrier breaking and some might say that guitarists Gary Holt and Rick Hunolt are trying to show off what they can do. If that’s the case, they do it very well but what really impresses me is the bass line from Rob McKillop. He does lay down a solid beat while Rick and Gary shred about the place.

Even more perplexing in things Exodus is their brief acoustic instrumental “30 Seconds,” which is actually forty seconds long. I have no complaints about it as it is played well. Again, that only serves to be a brief break in the action as they go back to thrash although, “Seeds of Hate” isn’t as speedy as many of the other tracks. It’s more Metallica “Black Album” speed. Nevertheless, it begins wit a very cool drum roll from Tom Hunting and the song delivers. Then “Chemi- Kill” begins with some way out guitar effects. For me this dispels the myth that Exodus are a thrash band only capable of playing three chords. They can play more, they choose to play those chords very fast. They still do so on this track, except there are some more way out parts in the middle. But Exodus don’t let you forget they are a thrash metal band as the closer, “Choose Your Weapon,” goes out in full Exodus thrash fashion.

Track Listing:

  1. Deranged
  2. Til Death Do Us Part
  3. Parasite
  4. Brain Dead
  5. Faster Than You’ll Even Live to Be
  6. Pleasures of the Flesh
  7. 30 Seconds
  8. Seeds of Hate
  9. Chemi- Kill
  10. Choose Your Weapon
Exodus

Steve Souza- lead vocals

Gary Holt- guitars

Rick Hunolt- guitars

Rob McKillop- bass

Tom Hunting- drums

While my band of choice for making the Big 4 the Big 5 is Kreator, Anthrax’s Scott Ian has insisted that the spot go to Exodus. It’s hard to argue with Scott on this point, especially with albums such as “Pleasures of the Flesh.”

Next post: Candlemass- Nightfall

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com

13 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1987: Exodus- Pleasures of the Flesh”

  1. I remember reading about these guys in the metal mags back in the 80s but they were out of my league so to speak…

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Don’t argue with Scott, I could see these guy as #5.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Absolute masterpiece, some of their all time best songs on this. Chemi-Kill, Brain Dead and Seeds Of Hate are among the best in the whole genre.
    Love the next one too.
    If you took the best songs off their first three albums, it might well be the best Thrash album of all te.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Really oughta be the Big 6, ‘cos Testament needs to be lauded more too!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: