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The Law

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Album Review

New Orleans' Exhorder bear the frustrating (if unconfirmed) distinction of having established the sonic blueprint that fellow southerners Pantera subsequently perfected and rode all the way to the heavy metal big leagues. Never mind the fact that frontman Kyle Thomas' enraged shouting style and thought-provoking lyrics were absolute ringers for Phil Anselmo; or that Vinnie LaBella and Jay Ceravolo's muscular rhythm guitars may have aided in Diamond Darrell's transformation into Dimebag Darrell (see the especially telling instrumental "Incontinence"). The jury is, of course, still out on all this conjecture (and likely always will be), but it doesn't take a musical genius to realize that both bands were mining a very similar niche at exactly the same time — one that saw the brutal values of death metal honed to a groove-oriented, bluntly focused approach. And except for its amateurish cover artwork, Exhorder's second effort, The Law, signified a notable improvement over their promising but flawed debut. Pushing the boundaries of their aggressive sound as far as they could, the band managed to radically broaden their dynamic and melodic range — without losing touch with its core elements. Prime examples include "Soul Search Me," "Unforgiven," and the title track, all of which employ a dizzying array of neck-snapping starts and stops with unprecedented success. Taking things even further, the highly unusual "Un-Born Again" introduces funky guitar licks and slap bass reminiscent of both death-jazz experts Atheist, and funk/metal pioneers Mordred. But perhaps most conspicuous of all is Exhorder's surprisingly unimaginative rendition of Black Sabbath's "Into the Void," which stands in marked contrast to the inventive risk-taking going on all around it. A valiant effort nevertheless, The Law qualifies as a minor extreme metal classic of the early '90s, and yet it still couldn't prevent a disillusioned Exhorder from breaking up a short time later. [The Law was later paired with its predecessor, Slaughter in the Vatican, and reissued as part of Roadrunner's Two from the Vault series.]

Customer Reviews

Get it Straight....

These guys were perfecting this genre of music WAY before Pantera dropped the make-up, hairspray, and tight leather pants. Exhorder is the real deal. Make no mistake. Unfortunately they didn't have the backing of their label like Pantera. There's a lot of emphasis on the singer and guitarist in this band, but you should defintely take note of the drummer. Chris Nail - Absolutely incredible. People seem to think Exhorder was copying Pantera....think again. Buy it....and listen to it LOUD!

Thrash brake downs

Speed thrash metal with ill brake downs. The guitar sound is total crunch, one of the best distorshons i've heard. There singer has a high piched voice, wich might turn some people off.


This album along with Cowboys From Hell and Vulgar Display of Power perfected groove metal. This is one of the albums that changed metal forever. Buy this now, and you shall not regret it.


Formed: 1986 in New Orleans, LA

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '00s

Formed in the late '80s out of a common interest in speed and doom metal, Exhorder helped shape the "Louisiana sound," a common sound shared between many metal bands from the state. By crafting chugging, tight riffs with a rigid structure, Exhorder made quite the local impression with 1990's Slaughter in the Vatican. Although dismissed by some because of the title and front cover, the album paved the way for Pantera's Cowboys From Hell and helped turn the thrash genre into a new direction. 1992's...
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The Law, Exhorder
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