After some initial lineup changes, with the original lineup featuring Tom Hunting and Kirk Hammett, the lineup was finally settled with Gary Holt joining as the main songwriter some time before Hammett left to join Metallica. However, before he left, he recruited Paul Baloff in 1981, with their friendship starting due to their shared love for punk rock and heavy metal music at a house party.
They finally got to work on the debut entitled Bonded By Blood, released in 1985. Shortly and sadly, Baloff was fired and was replaced by Steve Souza. The lineup mainly remained stagnant until Force of Habit. Afterwards, they temporarily split up due to issues.
When they temporarily reunited in 1997, Holt managed to get Baloff back in for a live album, entitled Another Lesson in Violence, but were forced to split again when they encountered issues with Century Media, the label that they were signed on to when the live album was finished and released. They got another opportunity to reunite in 2001, and Holt again got Baloff to continue with the band, unfortunately, Baloff died of a stroke a year after, and Souza came back finish where Baloff left off. Their 2004 studio effort, Tempo of the Damned, intended to be Baloff's studio return, is now dedicated in his memory, with Souza doing the vocals. Later in 2004, Souza was fired and replaced by Rob Dukes, who was their vocalist for three albums as well as a re-recording of Bonded by Blood.
Holt is currently a tour member for Slayer, both when Jeff Hanneman was suffering from a severe spider bite, and again when Hanneman himself passed away from alcohol abuse in 2013. On February 4, 2012 a Paul Baloff Memorial Reunion Concert was held at the Oakland Metro Opera House. Former and current members who attended the event included Kirk Hammett, Rick Hunolt, Gary Holt, Geoff Andrews, Lee Altus, Rob Dukes, Tom Hunting, and Jack Gibson. It was the first they have all played together since 1983. As of June 2014, Dukes and the band have parted ways and Souza has been welcomed back in. Exodus released a new album, Blood In, Blood Out, which is the band's first studio album featuring Souza after Tempo of the Damned.
- Gary Holt guitars, backing vocals (19811993, 19971998, 2001present).
- Jack Gibson bass, backing vocals (19971998, 2001present).
- Lee Altus guitars (2005present).
- Tom Hunting drums (19791989, 19971998, 20012005, 2007present).
- Steve "Zetro" Souza - lead vocals (1986-1993, 2002-2004, 2014-present).
Notable Past Members:
- Paul Baloff (R.I.P. 2002) vocals (19821986, 19971998, 20012002).
- Kirk Hammett guitar (19801983).
- Rob Mc Killop - bass (1983-1991)
- Rick Hunolt - guitar (1983-1994, 1997-1998, 2001-2005)
- Paul Bostaph drums (20052007).
- Rob Dukes - vocals (2005-2014).
- Bonded by Blood (1985).
- Pleasures of the Flesh (1987).
- Fabulous Disaster (1989).
- Impact Is Imminent (1990).
- Force of Habit (1992).
- Tempo of the Damned (2004).
- Shovel Headed Kill Machine (2005).
- The Atrocity Exhibition... Exhibit A (2007).
- Let There Be Blood (2008).
- Exhibit B: The Human Condition (2010).
- Blood In, Blood Out (2014).
Tropes displayed by Exodus:
- Abusive Parents: "Like Father, Like Son".
- Bald of Awesome: Rob Dukes.
- Badass Beard: Again, Dukes. Gary has also grown one recently.
- The Band Minus the Face: The general reaction to Gary's diminished ability to tour with Exodus due to his obligations to Slayer. Fans do not mind Kragen Lum (his live fill-in) at all, they just wish that Gary was there.
- Big Fun: Baloff was quite energetic live despite his size. And his hard-partying lifestyle caused some people to nickname him "the John Belushi of heavy metal."
- Concept Album: the Exhibit albums.
- Cool Old Guy: Jack Gibson, who also played bass in the Death Metal act Vile for quite some time.
- Darker and Edgier: Some would say this for the Dukes era.
- The Exhibit album duology on a lyrical level as a whole.
- Drugs Are Bad: Rick Hunolt's abuse of drugs got him fired for this. The song "Deathamphetamine" seems to have this message.
- Eagleland: An occasional lyrical topic, and invariably a Type 2. "Scar Spangled Banner" is the most prominent example.
- Epic Rocking: The Exhibit albums are known for this.
- "Deliver Us to Evil" from Bonded By Blood is 7:07.
- "Count Your Blessings" from Force of Habit is 7:31.
- "Pleasures of the Flesh" and "Altered Boy" are 7:37.
- "Forward March" from Tempo of the Damned is 7:38.
- "Within the Walls of Chaos" and "Heads They Win (Tails You Lose)" from Impact is Imminent are 7:44.
- "Like Father, Like Son" from Fabulous Disaster is 8:11.
- "Deathamphetamine" from Shovel Headed Kill Machine is 8:31.
- "Architect of Pain" from Force of Habit is 11:02.
- Played with in "Bedlam 1-2-3," as while the track is almost 20 minutes, the actual song is actually seven minutes, followed by 10 minutes worth of silence and a banjo interlude.
- The title track of The Atrocity Exhibition is 10:33.
- Five-Man Band:
- Green Aesop: "Chemi-Kill" is basically about how awful pollution is.
- Hardcore Punk: This is what Dukes grew up with, more so than the other members.
- Harsh Vocals: Baloff used a frantic, yelping shout, while Zetro uses a nasally snarl heavily influenced by Bon Scott; Dukes, meanwhile, utilized a hardcore-style bark.
- Hate Plague: "Seeds of Hate".
- Heavy Meta: "Metal Command", among others.
- Hillbilly Horrors: "Cajun Hell" combines this with Swamps Are Evil.
- Horrible History Metal: "Nanking" is about the Nanking Massacre, while "The Last Act of Defiance" is about the New Mexico State Penitentiary riot.
- I Am the Band: Gary Holt.
- Jerkass: Gary Holt can definitely come across as this in some of his interviews.
- Madden Into Misanthropy: "Numb".
- Mohs Scale of Rock and Metal Hardness: 8 or 9, depending on the song.
- Older Than They Look: Gary Holt is in his early fifties but looks like he's in his early forties at most.
- Pedophile Priest: "Altered Boy"
- Prison Riot: "The Last Act of Defiance" is about a particularly infamous one that took place in New Mexico in 1980.
- Protest Song: "Collateral Damage" and "Fabulous Disaster".
- Religion Rant Song: Very common from Tempo of the Damned onwards, with "Shroud of Urine", "The Atrocity Exhibition", "Children of a Worthless God", and "Iconoclasm" being but a few examples.
- Revolving Door Band: For a while. After Bostaph's departure and the return of Hunting, they went seven years without a lineup shift until Dukes was booted and replaced with Zetro in 2014.
- Special Guest: Kirk Hammett contributed a guest solo on Blood In, Blood Out. Holt even commented that it made him feel like it was 1982 and they were trying to outshred one another all over again.
- Spoken Word in Music: Some of their album intros use this.
- Start My Own: Baloff started Piranha after he was fired.
- Zetro also started Hatriot, along with his two sons; in the wake of Exodus' success with him back on vocals, he has had to leave Hatriot and his son Cody has opted to take his vocal spot.
- Dukes has his own band as well, Generation Kill.
- The Stoner: Zetro and Gibson.
- Talkative Loon: The intro to "Deranged" is a spoken word bit that invokes this.
- Thrash Metal: One of the Trope Codifiers of the genre.
- Welcome Back, Traitor: Zetro did not leave on good terms back in 2004, and Holt publicly tore into him at that time. Given that he is back in the band, however, it is clear that he and Holt made amends.
- Wife-Basher Basher: "Sealed With a Fist".