Ah, thrash metal. It’s the genre that gets me through leg day at the gym or my life in general. When I think of Thrash Metal, I immediately go back to my first concert, Ozzfest 2006. Full of fast guitar riffs, killer drum beats, and orgasmic bass lines, this band definitely has it all. Exmortus originated in Whittier, California by teenage cousins, Jardan “Conan” Gonzalez (vocals/guitar) and Mario Moreno (drums), founding the band in 2002. These two had a passion for true metal and thrash that ultimately landed them a few gigs in the same year of their inception. They note their influences were composed of Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, and Slayer, just to name a few. They stood out in their small town scene, which at the time consisted of nu metal and metal-core, because they played old-school metal. Of course it posed challenges, but they were focused on the guitar oriented heavy metal of which California hasn’t seen in a very long time.
Exmortus released several EP’s before finally signing with Heavy Artillery Records in 2007. In 2008, they released their first album titled In Hatred’s Flames, by far my favorite album of theirs. There is something about the fast riffs that reminds me of my moshing days in high school. This album seems to be the heaviest of all the albums they have released. Up next in 2011, they released their next studio album Beyond the Fall of Time. Blabbermouth said it was “frighteningly aggressive Thrash blended with death metal and NWOBHM (AKA New Wave of British heavy metal). While listening to the song “Kneel Before the Steel,” I freaked out for a minute. This reaction was because the opening drum is very reminiscent to Motörhead’s “Overkill” and that made me extremely happy.
In 2013, the band announced they signed with Prosthetic Records, which is home to many great bands such as: Lamb of God, All That Remains, and Gojira, just to name a few. The band wasted no time starting their third full length album Slaves to the Sword. On this particular album, the band had fun with the song “Metal is King.” In an interview done by DeadRhetoric.com they were asked, “Who came up with ‘Mickey is King’ and does this showcase another, humorous, or light-hearted side of the group?” In which, Mario replied, “We got banned by Disneyland and can’t play on any Disneyland property. When we were doing it, around that time we had seen a lot of videos from Behemoth and these other bands that had done Disney versions of metal songs. We thought it would be funny to do our own because of the ban, Conan just transposed everything into another tuning.”
This year, Exmortus released their fourth album Ride Forth on January 8th. By this time, the group has taken what they have learned on the road all of these years and are destined to top previous outings. Their single “For the Horde” definitely takes it old school. It reminds me of the past days of metal while keeping up with modern rock. This album took a more melodic turn with traditional hooks and harmony spots on the music front. Moreno explained to DeadRhetoric.com that they really pushed themselves on the melodies this go around. He noted the recording went a lot smoother this go around because they pushed themselves.