Exodus is undoubtedly a legend in the annals of Bay Area thrash metal. Tales of crazed metalheads slicing their own foreheads open with broken glass before diving into the crowd at Ruthie’s Inn had been etched into my mind years before I began listening to them. My formal introduction to Exodus came courtesy of ex-Grimple/Eldopa guitarist Greg Valencia when I was nineteen. While sharing a bottle of whiskey at a party, Greg filled me in regarding what I needed to know about Exodus—namely, which album to pick up. You might guess that Bonded by Blood was that album, a title that he made sure I would remember. Since I was a huge fan of Greg’s bands, I would obviously take that advice seriously when the opportunity presented itself.
Some time later, I was attending Lucky Dawg’s memorial show at a warehouse in East Oakland. Filth and Grimple had reunited for the occasion, but I overheard someone saying that Exodus was also on the bill. That made no sense to me, so I dismissed it. Eventually, I found myself hiding behind band equipment out of claustrophobia when I saw a bunch of metalheads setting up in the stage area. I’ll be damned—this crowded warehouse was about to be under an Exodus attack! Claustrophobia or not, I was not about to miss this. I still had yet to hear Exodus, so this was perfect for me. Paul Baloff was on vocals and his stage rap was in full effect this evening. He was saying some downright hysterical shit between songs along the lines of “WE BELIEVE IN ANARCHY! YAAAAAAH!” in his high-pitched squeal. My hiding place behind the band was a great spot, as I could see the crowd going mental without having to deal with it myself. Nobody cut open their forehead, but I still loved every minute of it. After that, Filth seemed anticlimactic.
Before Paul Baloff’s death, I used to run into him and Gary Holt while waiting for the train at Lake Merritt BART. I always thought about that show whenever I saw those guys hanging out, but I never introduced myself and talked to them about it. As dumb as it sounds, I did not want to come off as a gushing fanboy. However, the fact that I never even tried to say hello is one of my music scene-related regrets.
Bonded by Blood took some time to sink in, mostly because I made the mistake of buying the CD. To these ears, the CD mislaid the band’s guts (it definitely mislaid the cover artwork), but dubbing it onto a cassette somehow corrected that error. Once I acquired the vinyl, everything finally fell into place. Bonded by Blood is just one of those albums that should be heard on the format it was originally released on. With that in mind, enjoy our rip that was sourced from the original vinyl at perfect MP3 quality. Please feel free to compare it to whatever other download you may already have and let us know what you think. Broken glass not included.