Exodus – Bonded by Blood 35th Anniversary Review

Exodus- Bonded by Blood

Band: Exodus
Album: Bonded by Blood
Label: Torrid Records, Combat Records
Genre: Thrash Metal
Country: U.S.
Release Date: April 25th, 1985
For Fans Of: Metallica, Testament, Vio-Lence (but seriously this is the wrong site for you if you have never heard this band)

Of all the genres in metal, from all of the regions of the world, you would be hard pressed to find someone who would argue that the Bay Area Thrash scene of the 80’s is not among the most influential. Spawning juggernauts Metallica, fan favorites Testaments, death metal progenitors Possessed and countless other bands of varying levels of influence, California’s Bay Area scene is responsible for some of the metal scenes greatest albums of all time. Firmly cemented among the classic records that this scene had to offer is Exodus’ Bonded by Blood, an album that has proven its merit over the last 35 years by remaining one of the greatest metal albums ever created .

Recorded in 1984, Bonded by Blood was unleashed upon the world on April 25th, 1985, with much anticipation, as the band’s debut. The lineup consisted of Gary Holt and Rick Hunnolt on guitar, Rob McKillop on bass, Tom Hunting on drums and is notably the only Exodus full length to feature original frontman and many a fan’s favorite, Paul Baloff on vocals. The album was released to much acclaim and let the world know that Exodus was here to “teach you a lesson in violence you won’t soon forget”.

Bonded by Blood is a no frills, in your face thrash attack. Right from the opening riff of the title track Exodus let all other bands know that they were not to be fucked with. Once the album kicks in, it refuses to let up and keeps heads banging for the duration of its runtime. There is something about Holt’s riffs, which are some of the best on an album not by Slayer or Metallica, combined with Baloff’s vocals, that give the album a combined aggression and catchiness that hooks you in and keeps your attention. The lyrics are fast, fierce and truly wave the banner for heavy metal. This is an album full of songs begging to be played in a live setting. Songs like Metal Command and Bonded by Blood gave thrashers a true sense of camaraderie as the lyrics prove that even your favorite band can be proud of this thing called Heavy fucking Metal. 

Exodus are a legendary band and a lot of this legendary status comes from the strength of Bonded by Blood. Unfortunately for many fans Exodus has had a ton of issues regarding their lineup and this has led to severe inconsistency in the quality of their output. Even with such classics as Fabulous Disaster and Tempo of the Damned under their belt, most people still look at this debut album as the bands crowning achievement. This eventually led, much to the dismay of headbangers everywhere, to a re-recording of the album in 2008 entitled “Let There Be Blood”, with a new lineup featuring Rob Dukes on vocals, and while the album is well done from a technical standpoint, it lacks all the flair of the original. This attempt at adding new life into one of the most legendary albums of all time proves one thing, you just can’t top a masterpiece.

So what makes this album a classic? Here we are 35 years later and Bonded by Blood is still ranked among the best metal albums of all time on too many lists too count. It helped usher in and formulate the Bay Area Thrash sound, which is still recognized as one of the most popular movements that extreme music has ever seen. The album’s influence can even be seen today with, arguably the most popular modern Thrash band Power Trip utilizing distinctly “Bonded by Blood” sounding riffs and even having a Thrash revival band utilizing the albums namesake as their moniker. Bonded by Blood truly has stood the test of time and has always been and will always be, the greatest thrash album ever made.


  1. Bonded by Blood
  2. Exodus
  3. And Then There Were None
  4. A Lesson in Violence
  5. Metal Command
  6. Piranha
  7. No Love
  8. Deliver Us to Evil
  9. Strike of the Beast

Total Playing Time: 40:31

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