With a bond forged in youth and decades-old friendship, the undisputed masters of thrash metal EXODUS return with their eleventh studio album, PERSONA NON GRATA due to be released on November 19th via Nuclear Blast Records. Today, the band releases the lyric video for the third single “The Years Of Death And Dying” which can be viewed below.
Tom Hunting comments, “‘The Years Of Death And Dying’ started out as a poem, from the perspective of Death, being a thinking entity, always watching and looking for weakness and opportunity to come calling for people. A Grim Reaper story. We were losing legends: Bowie, Cash, Petty, Prince, Frey…the list goes on and on. Then we started losing family members and friends in our own orbit. Anyway, the title came first, then the poem, which became a song. I shared the lyrics with Gary, who helped inspire me with phrasing to finish it, and the guys loved it. The song is really long, and more legends kept passing right up into the moments Zet was singing it, so I had to keep writing until I had enough to complete the song. We hope you enjoy our tribute to the fallen!”
From the early days in 80’s California, to going on to become a band recognised as a pioneer of the thrash metal scene, EXODUS are back! After seven years since their last album, “Blood In, Blood Out”, the brutal and eleventh studio album “Persona Non Grata” is set for release on 19th November via Nuclear Blast.
Metal Shock Finland’s Alison Booth caught up with drummer Tom Hunting for her radio show Blackdiamond’s Metal Mayhem, which is broadcast every Tuesday from 6PM GMT on UK station TotalRock.
Of course all fans know Tom has been fighting cancer and had a successful gastrectomy in July. We had a chat about his health before the interview, Tom told me that everything is looking great and he is back at work with the band, with some recent shows taking place.
Lots of topics were discussed from the new album and its recording and back to the old days, with more in between. You can check out the audio interview below, with some written excerpts – it wasn’t the best connection so it’s a little clipped in places, but Tom had lots of interesting things to say!
About the release of “Persona Non Grata”, Tom expressed:
“We feel awesome about it, I mean this album’s been done for quite a while but we’re super proud of the work we did on it and you know, the manner in which we recorded it and the songwriting process was, we just had fun all the way around. Crazy times and we just kinda like did the best with the time we had you know? Everything’s hooky and just you know, lotsa crunch. We’re very happy with it.
I think all the fun we had recording really came out in the music you know and we had a good time. We were under no time constraints like for tracking or anything like that. We had an open book of creativity and it was flowing you know?“
About recording in home studios, Tom revealed:
“Usually, when it comes time to track drums, we have the songs and arrangements worked out, but I usually only have like seven or eight days to set up, get my tracks in and then I can never revisit or redo anything. The way we did it this time, I set up, did my tracks – got it done pretty fast. But if I heard something you know, if I wanted to enhance a riff or whatever, I can go and basically insert a different drum fill or whatever. And that was a great privilege to have for me, ’cause at the end it’s a more beautiful drum template to play, you know? The guys liked it too and the same could be said for them, ’cause we were all stuck here together and it just worked out, everything lined up.
And it was the first time we tried to record this way, so remotely. Usually we do the drums in a proper studio and everything else gets done anywhere. But this time we just did it all, there was a lot of DIY involved. I was nailing up big ass pieces of carpet, you know I had my stapler out – I was stapling pieces of fabric to the ceiling to try and get those sound waves right for the cymbals crashing [laughs].”
Regarding keeping EXODUS going after so many years, Tom said:
“Well, I’m gonna go with a cliche here and we’ve all said it, everybody in our band. It’s crazy, if you’d asked me, you know when we first started, if the journey would still be going in 2021, I would tell you I don’t think so. But Gary is a force, Gary Holt is a guitar force in this world, our band’s more of a brotherhood than other bands I see that do it like on our level. You know, we’re still best of friends and we’re family you know.“
I think as younger men doing this we probably were more into it for the party you know and now we’re older, I think we respect the journey a little bit more. It’s the best education I ever could get in my life.”
Talking about debut album “Bonded By Blood”:
“There’s times I dread having to play Piranha for the umpteenth billion time, but I’m super proud of the fact that we made an album that was a statement, so long ago and so many statements were made back then. We just had fun – we were young, guys in the throws of creativity and just kind of hungry and learning our instruments.”
Tom had lots to say about his love of English drummers:
“I think about Clive Burr all the time. I watch his videos. I have to say I was pretty mad at Iron Maiden for releasing him without any real explanation as to why [laughs]. Don’t get me wrong, I love Nicko McBrain, I’ve been listening to him since he played with Pat Travers and I love Nicko, he’s a very colourful drummer, but I love the way Clive drove that band. The way he would install these crazy heavy metal disco type beats and he had such a fast flick of the wrist, you know?
And then of course Keith Moon was a maniac. You expect from a traditional drumming standpoint, even rock drumming, you would think he would do one thing and he does another. And Bonham, he was a force. There’s a lot of ’em, a lot of English drummers. Ian Paice, my favourite leftie, a man after my own heart ’cause I too am left handed, he’s still doing it!“
EXODUS is: Gary Holt | Guitar Tom Hunting | Drums Steve “Zetro” Souza | Vocals Jack Gibson | Bass Lee Altus | Guitar
The North American leg of the Bay Strikes Back tour featuring TESTAMENT, EXODUS + DEATH ANGEL has been postponed until 2022.
“We were really on the fence with this decision,” says Testament guitarist Eric Peterson. “But seeing other bands make it through with a few mild cases and other bigger bands just cancelling their entire tours, we felt it is in our best interest to postpone these shows to ’22.”
Adds fellow guitarist Alex Skolnick, “It gives none of us any pleasure to be the bearers of bad news yet again, but here we are. Although Bay Strikes Back is a top tour package for theaters, the reality is this: It can’t afford to take the risks that top grossing larger venue tours have been taking. The type of disruptions Kiss and other large outdoor venue tours have experienced could cause our shows to be permanently cancelled – a lose/lose for everyone. The fact that a lower budget tour such as ours is limited to indoor venues with tight backstage space only adds to the risk. It should go without saying that calling off these dates was a ‘last resort’ decision, and everyone involved would much rather this weren’t the case. However, this is the new reality we’re all in. All we can do is hope for everyone’s understanding, which we ask for sincerely.”
The trio of bands will perform as scheduled at Sacramento’s Aftershock festival on Thursday, October 7, as well as the hometown show scheduled for November 27 at Fox Oakland.
We are saddened to announce that the Bay Strikes Back tour is being postponed, but the risk of cancelled shows due to positive tests leading to tour personnel being quarantined and isolated is just too great at this time,” says Exodus guitarist Gary Holt. “We want to feel safe, enjoy the tour and be able to hang out with our close friends. The silver lining in this is that Tom Hunting no longer needs chemo and will have more time to work his way back to doing a full tour. He will make his return behind the drums at Aftershock but a full tour requires more preparation, so that is the good part.”
Bay Strikes Back dates have been rebooked beginning in April and will include additional cities not originally scheduled for the tour.
“Usually when I’m asked to contribute a quote to an announcement it pertains to something I’m extremely excited about,” says Death Angel vocalist Mark Osegueda. “In this case I’m gutted… It pains me to announce that The Bay Strikes Back U.S. Tour is being postpone. No one was looking forward to this more than me. But, on the brighter side of things, the tour is in fact going to happen – just at a later time. And I can assure you that the already ravenous to play live members of Death Angel promise to provide a crushing set during a crushing tour. The Bay WILL Strike Back!”
Bay Strikes Back 2022 dates: 4/9/2022 – San Luis Obispo, CA – Fremont Theater 4/10/2022 – Anaheim, CA – House of Blues 4/12/2022 – San Diego, CA – House of Blues 4/13/2022 – Las Vegas, NV – House of Blues 4/15/2022 – Tucson, AZ – Rialto Theatre 4/16/2022 – Albuquerque, NM – Sunshine Theater 4/19/2022 – Oklahoma City, OK – Diamond Ballroom 4/20/2022 – Houston, TX – White Oak Music Hall 4/21/2022 – Austin, TX – Emo’s 4/22/2022 – Dallas, TX -Amplified Live 4/23/2022 – New Orleans, LA – House of Blues 4/26/2022 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade 4/27/2022 – Raleigh, NC – The Ritz 4/30/2022 – Sayreville, NJ -Starland Ballroom 5/1/2022 – Baltimore, MD – Soundstage 5/2/2022 – Boston, MA – House of Blues 5/3/2022 – Philadelphia, PA – Theater of Living Arts 5/5/2022 – Huntington, NY – The Paramount 5/6/2022 – Buffalo, NY – Town Ballroom 5/7/2022 – Cincinnati, OH – Madison Theater 5/9/2022 – Pittsburgh, PA – Stage AE 5/10/2022 – Cleveland, OH – The Agora 5/11/2022 – Columbus, OH – Newport Music Hall 5/12/2022 – Detroit, MI – The Majestic Theatre 5/14/2022 – Joliet, IL – The Forge 5/15/2022 – Joliet, IL – The Forge 5/17/2022 – Minneapolis, MN – Skyway Theatre 5/19/2022 – Denver, CO – Summit 5/20/2022 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Depot *More dates to be added
Jimmy Kay from Canada’s The Metal Voice recently spoke to Exodus’ Guitarist Gary Holt about the bands upcoming Studio album “Persona Non Grata”, which will be released on November 19, 2021 via Nuclear Blast Records.
Holt also spoke about the band’s Legacy, Metallica early days and gave an update on Slayer.
Tell us what this new album “Persona Non Grata” sound like “The album to me sounds like 2020. It’s the musical equivalent to the shit show that last year was. Some of the stuff I was writing as I am looking at the TV watching the world burn, of course that had an effect on what I was putting down on paper. The song The Years of Death and Dying, Tom (Hunting) wrote as an ode to all the people we lost including a lot of close friends, on top of that a loss of our way of life, jobs and homes that were lost, not just all pandemic related. It was a bad year and we hope this album is something positive that comes out of it. This album has got some of the catchiest choruses we have ever come up with. When you can make something that super heavy and sing along to it I think you kind of accomplished something. Zetro also learned a couple of new tricks (death growls) in the past he didn’t think it was in his wheelhouse but he learned that he could do it quite well. Some of the songs demanded it.”
When you first saw Metallica did you think they were going to be as big as they are today “I thought they were great, we saw like a kindred spirit. We were both playing thrash metal, we didn’t know at the time another band did, it was kind of like looking into a mirror. No one knew they would be this big and anybody who says they did is a liar. They were crushing killer thrash made by guys like us, pimply faced kids with a total lack of social skills. No one knew James (Hetfield) would become the singer he did. No one knew they would write stuff like ‘Nothing Else Matters’. No one knew they would write ‘Sanitarium’. It wasn’t until Master of Puppets that I thought this band is going to do something massiv, cause I still consider ‘Master Of Puppets’ the greatest metal album ever made.”
Any updates on Slayer, perhaps a one off show or music? “No, Slayer is done, enjoy the memories, I know I do.”
“Persona Non Grata” is the follow-up to 2014’s “Blood In Blood Out”. “Persona Non Grata” was recorded at a studio in Lake Almanor, California and was engineered by Steve Lagudi and EXODUS. It was produced by EXODUS and was mixed by Andy Sneap.
With a bond forged in youth and decades-old friendship, the undisputed masters of thrash metal EXODUS return with their eleventh studioalbum, PERSONA NON GRATA due to be released on November 19th via Nuclear Blast Records. Today, the band releases the lyric video for the second single “Clickbait” which can be viewed here: https://nblast.de/exodus-cb-yt
Gary Holt comments: “Very excited to launch the release of ‘Clickbait’ from our upcoming record! Crushing and aggressive as hell, it captures the power of the new record perfectly! Getting more excited by the day. November 19th can’t come fast enough!”
01. Persona Non Grata 02. R.E.M.F 03. Slipping Into Madness 04. Elitist 05. Prescribing Horror 06. The Beatings Will Continue (Until Morale Improves) 07. The Years Of Death And Dying 08. Clickbait 09. Cosa Del Pantano 10. Lunatic-Liar-Lord 11. The Fires Of Division 12. Antiseed
Literally translating to an “unwelcome” or “unacceptable” person, PERSONA NON GRATA touches on themes of modern societal disgust and degradation.The band gathered at Tom Hunting‘s house in the mountains where they produced and recorded Persona Non Grata from three home-built studios . Steve Lagudi was at the helm of engineeringwhile the band enlisted Andy Sneap of Backstage Studios to mix the album. For the third time in the band’s history, they returned to Swedish artist Par Olofsson to create the album artwork.
This fall EXODUS will join TESTAMENT and DEATH ANGEL on “The Bay Strikes Back Tour” in the US. The 30 date trek will kick off on October 6th at the Fremont Theater in San Luis Obispo, CA and will make stops in Austin, New York, and Detroit before concluding at The Fox in Oakland on November 27th.
Confirmed dates for “The Bay Strikes Back Tour” with TESTAMENT, EXODUS, and DEATH ANGEL are:
10/06/2021 Fremont Theater – San Luis Obispo, CA 10/07/2021 Aftershock Festival – Sacramento, CA 10/08/2021 House Of Blues – San Diego, CA 10/10/2021 House Of Blues – Anaheim, CA 10/11/2021 Rialto Theatre – Tucson, AZ 10/12/2021 Sunshine Theater – Albuquerque, NM 10/14/2021 Diamond Ballroom – Oklahoma City, OK 10/15/2021 Gas Monkey Bar & Grill – Dallas, TX 10/16/2021 Emo’s – Austin, TX 10/17/2021 White Oak Music Hall – Houston, TX 10/19/2021 House Of Blues – New Orleans, LA 10/20/2021 Masquerade – Atlanta, GA 10/21/2021 The Ritz – Raleigh, NC 10/22/2021 TLA – Philadelphia, PA 10/23/2021 Starland Ballroom – Sayreville, NJ 10/24/2021 Baltimore Soundstage – Baltimore, MD 10/26/2021 The Paramount – Huntington, NY 10/27/2021 House Of Blues – Boston, MA 10/28/2021 Town Ballroom – Buffalo, NY 10/29/2021 Madison Theater – Cincinnati, OH 10/30/2021 The Agora – Cleveland, OH 11/01/2021 Stage AE – Pittsburgh, PA 11/02/2021 Newport Music Hall – Columbus, OH 11/04/2021 The Majestic – Detroit, MI 11/05/2021 The Forge – Joliet, IL *SOLD OUT* 11/06/2021 The Forge – Joliet, IL *SOLD OUT* 11/07/2021 Skyway Theatre – Minneapolis, MN 11/09/2021 Summit Music Hall – Denver, CO 11/10/2021 The Depot – Salt Lake City, UT 11/27/2021 The Fox – Oakland, CA
With a bond forged in youth and decades-old friendship, the undisputed masters of thrash metal return with their eleventh studio album, PERSONA NON GRATA due to be released on November 19th via Nuclear Blast Records. Today, the band releases the music video for the first single entitled, “The Beatings Will Continue (Until Morale Improves)”. Watch the video that was written and directed by BJ McDonnell and produced by James A Rota, here: https://nblast.de/Exodus-TBWC-YT
Gary Holt comments “After what seems like an eon, we now have the debut of our first single, ‘The Beatings Will Continue (Until Morale Improves)’. I’m so jacked up for this and the release of Persona Non Grata! Let’s get the bloodletting started!”
PERSONA NON GRATA will be available in the following formats: CD Jewelcase + Blu-ray Bonus Disc (Jam Camp!) Double LP – various colors Mail Order 2LP Boxset – Limited to 2,000 pieces worldwide CD Jewelcase Long Box + Blu-ray Bonus Disc (Jam Camp!) (Decibel Magazine Exclusive) Cassette – Tinted Red
Literally translating to an “unwelcome” or “unacceptable” person, PERSONA NON GRATA touches on themes of modern societal disgust and degradation. The band gathered at Tom Hunting’s house in the mountains where they produced and recorded Persona Non Grata from three home-built studios. Steve Lagudi was at the helm of engineering while the band enlisted Andy Sneap of Backstage Studios to mix the album. For the third time in the band’s history, they returned to Swedish artist Par Olofsson to create the album artwork.
Below is the PERSONA NON GRATA tracklist:
Persona Non Grata R.E.M.F Slipping Into Madness Elitist Prescribing Horror The Beatings Will Continue (Until Morale Improves) The Years Of Death And Dying Clickbait Cosa Del Pantano Lunatic-Liar-Lord The Fires Of Division Antiseed
This fall EXODUS will join TESTAMENT and DEATH ANGEL on “The Bay Strikes Back Tour”. The 30 date trek will kick off on October 6th at the Fremont Theater in San Luis Obispo, CA and will make stops in Austin, New York, and Detroit before concluding at The Fox in Oakland on November 27th.