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Music / Exodus (Band)

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Minus Paul Baloff note 

Exodus are an American Thrash Metal band forming in 1980. Considered one of the main pioneering bands outside the Big 4 (in fact, both Anthrax’ Scott Ian and Megadeth’s Dave Mustaine see them as a fifth member), Exodus have managed a 30 year run save for some hiatuses.

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. Afterward, 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 to 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.

In 2011 Holt became a touring member for Slayer when Jeff Hanneman was suffering from a severe spider bite, and when Hanneman passed away from alcohol abuse in 2013 he continued as a permanent member until Slayer's final concert in 2019. 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 (1981–1993, 1997–1998, 2001–present).
  • Jack Gibson – bass, backing vocals (1997–1998, 2001–present).
  • Lee Altus – guitars (2005–present).
  • Tom Hunting – drums (1980–1989, 1997–1998, 2001–2005, 2007–present).
  • Steve "Zetro" Souza - lead vocals (1986-1993, 2002-2004, 2014-present).

Notable Past Members:note 

  • Paul Baloff (R.I.P. 2002) – vocals (1982–1986, 1997–1998, 2001–2002).
  • Kirk Hammett – guitars (1980–1983).
  • Rob McKillop - bass (1983-1991)
  • Rick Hunolt - guitars (1983-1993, 1997-1998, 2001-2005)
  • Michael Butler - bass (1991-1993)
  • Paul Bostaph – drums (2005–2007).
  • Rob Dukes - vocals (2005-2014).
  • John Tempesta - drums (1989-1993).


  • 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).
  • Persona Non Grata (2021).

Tropes displayed by Exodus:

  • 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.
  • 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, and "Deathamphetamine" was written as a plea to him to stop using. They also played a big role in their decision to fire Paul Baloff - while that was far from his only problem and Paul was generally an extremely self-destructive person, his out-of-control drug abuse absolutely was one of the biggest issues.
  • Eagleland: An occasional lyrical topic, and invariably a Type 2. "Scar Spangled Banner" is the most prominent example.
  • Enemies List: As illustrated in the song "Blacklist".
  • 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 opening title track of Persona Non Grata clocks in at 7:30, and the track "Lunatic-Liar-Lord" goes for 7:59, along with an additional minute or so if you include the acoustic intro "Cosa del Pantano".
    • The title track of The Atrocity Exhibition is 10:33.
  • 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.
    • "The Last Act of Defiance" is about the New Mexico State Penitentiary riot.
    • "Architect of Pain" is about the Marquis de Sade.
    • "Prescribing Horror" is about the Thalidomide scandal.
  • I Am the Band: Gary Holt. He's the only member who has played on all of the albums and writes 90% of the songs.
  • Lead Drummer: Tom Hunting is the only remaining founding member, has historically played a large role in the band's overall creative direction, and is known for his technical ability, speed, and precision; as per Gary Holt, Kirk Hammett would regularly ask him to slow down because he was having trouble keeping up with him, and when Kirk jumped ship to Metallica and Gary found himself calling the shots, one of the first things he started doing was letting Tom play as fast as he wanted.
  • Nature Metal: "Chemi-Kill" is about the destruction of the environment caused by greedy businessmen and politicians.
  • Older Than They Look: Gary Holt is in his early fifties but looks like he's in his early forties at most.
  • Prison Riot: "The Last Act of Defiance" is about a particularly infamous one that took place in New Mexico in 1980.
  • 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.
    • Chuck Billy of Testament, also Exodus' co-manager, is featured in a song from the same album.
    • Furthermore, Dan the Automator provided an industrial-flavored intro to "Black 13".
  • 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. Apparently it was some homeless guy who was hanging around the studio during the recording.
  • Technician Versus Performer: This has historically been the dynamic between Gary and the other guitarist, primarily Rick Hunolt and Lee Altus. While Gary is a very technical player, he also has a rawer and dirtier blues-based lead style, while Rick and later Lee play the role of the clean neoclassical shredder.
  • 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".