Exodus - British Disaster: The Battle of '89 (Live At The Astoria)

Exodus – British Disaster: The Battle of ’89 (Live at the Astoria) (Live Album Review)

Of all the Thrash Metal bands to make a name for themselves during the 1980s, Exodus arguably possessed the most attitude. Rough, tough, and fueled by an almost Punk Rock vitriol, the sound of Exodus feels like a jab to the jaw. A band that makes you want to man up and dive right in, the history of Exodus is also quite interesting.

Dating all the way back to 1979, it is pretty well-known that Exodus once had Kirk Hammett on lead guitar until 1983, before he opted to leave and join Metallica. This in mind, the band’s lineup has been dressed with many other recognizable names through the years; this includes former Bassist Jeff Andrew (who left in 1983 to join Possessed), Drummer John Tempesta (who has played with everyone from White Zombie to The Cult), and Drummer Paul Bostaph (a past and present drummer for Slayer). Furthermore, most are also well aware that long-time Exodus Guitar Gary Holt has been working with Slayer now for well over a decade now. All quite compelling bits of information, to many, the classic lineup of Exodus would have to include founding Drummer Tom Hunting, the aforementioned Gary Holt on lead guitars, matched with the lead vocals of Steve “Zetro” Souza (who was a part of some of the band’s most beloved records such as 1987’s Pleasure of the Flesh and 1989’s Fabulous Disaster). Three key components still a part of Exodus all these years later, joining the stabilized grouping has been Jack Gibson on bass, as well as Lee Altus on guitar.

Together they have continued to dominate with more recent records such as 2021’s Persona Non Grata, but in 2024, Exodus take a bit of a look back into the past with the newly released live album British Disaster: The Battle of ’89 (Live at the Astoria). Originally recorded on March 8, 1989 at The Astoria in London, England, the performance was a headlining show for Exodus while they were out touring in support of their Fabulous Disaster LP which had dropped just a few months earlier in January. Now some 35 years later, the band had a chance to look back on the full multi-track tape reels of the night’s recordings just to see what they had. Taken back in time, they soon realized that these live tracks not only had enough sonic clarity to release to the public, but also had an intangible ruckus and energetic performance. With that, they put it all together and on May 31st gift Thrash Metal lovers British Disaster: The Battle of ’89 (Live at the Astoria) through Nuclear Blast Records.

All together fifteen songs, the live album naturally features a heavy hand of Fabulous Disaster tracks, but also some other killer selections such as “Piranha” and “Deliver Us to Evil” from their 1985’s debut Bonded by Blood. All flowing together in a pretty seamless manner, of course they also tap into 1987’s Pleasure of the Flesh too; with cuts like “Parasite” and “Brain Dead.” Truly an on point performance by all involved, the recordings are clarified enough that you can make out everything happening, but also gruff enough where you can feel the sweat and adrenaline rush as if you were actually there on the floor that night.

A really cool look back in time, the lineup for this show included Hunting, Holt, Souza, but also Bassist Rob McKillop (who was featured on all of Exodus’ first four studio albums), plus Guitarist Rick Hunolt (an important member of Exodus for three stints). Offered to stream or purchase digitally, in all honesty, the best bet here would be to pick up British Disaster: The Battle of ’89 (Live at the Astoria) either on vinyl or CD… because digital listening experiences can be rather hollow. Everything considered, it is recommended to check out this release, try and check out Exodus on their European tour this summer, and hope they have a new studio album coming in the near future, because Cryptic Rock gives British Disaster: The Battle of ’89 (Live at the Astoria) 4.5 out of 5 stars. 

Exodus - British Disaster: The Battle of '89 (Live At The Astoria)
Exodus – British Disaster: The Battle of ’89 (Live At The Astoria) / Nuclear Blast (2024)

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