Vocalist Kyle Thomas of New Orleans-based thrash metal pioneers EXHORDER has confirmed to the “Brutally Delicious” podcast that he and his bandmates have spent much of the coronavirus downtime working on material for the follow-up to 2019’s “Mourn The Southern Skies” album. “We all were really busy with the writing process pretty much from jump,” he said (as transcribed by BLABBERMOUTH.NET). “I think any band that kind of snoozed on that opportunity set themselves up for being in a bad position because now bands that did put in the work during the pandemic, if they’re not releasing albums now, they’re not far off. We’ve been in pre-production for it for quite some time. It’s something that we’re gonna be working really hard on in the upcoming months after the [recently complted U.S.] tour. So [I’m] looking forward to that.”
Asked if he and the rest of EXHORDER — guitarist Marzi Montazeri, bassist Jason Viebrooks and drummer Sasha Horn — have been able to get together in person and work on new music or if it’s mostly being done remotely, Kyle said: “It’s tough for us to do that because none of us live in the same state. We’ve got four guys in four different states, so that makes it… The dynamics are… It’s a long commute. So I think what everybody’s pretty much set out to do is we’ve all just kind of crafted our own songs individually, and then when we got together in August, while we were rehearsing for the ‘Slaughter In The Vatican’ set, we also did some jamming on the new stuff, bouncing ideas off each other, tweaking this and tweaking that, seeing what works and what doesn’t. So that’s the good part — is once we finally get together, we do hear each other out on ideas and stuff. Sometimes something that somebody submits works and sometimes it doesn’t. So we just kind of stockpile what does work together and move on from there.”
Last February, Thomas told “The Dan Chan Show” that he and his bandmates have been “writing at home” and “piecing everything together” for the upcoming LP
“Mostly what I do for EXHORDER songs is I write parts, and then I submit them, and then they might get used here and there,” he said. “That’s how it always was done in the past. There are some parts of mine that made it on to the old albums. But most of what I write, when I’m writing, ends up being more like the FLOODGATE stuff. On occasion, when there’s something that I’ve written, they’ll use. I’m not that worried about it. I just want great songs handed to me so I can do what I do.
“My biggest part, outside of writing vocals and lyrics, is the arrangement — helping to piece the song into the format that it needs to be in,” he explained. “And just the overall production side of it, especially vocally, I like having input on — what part here, the intro should be this…
“EXHORDER‘s always been a team effort; it’s never been one person writing all the music, one person writing all the vocals. It’s not like that at all. It’s always been a collaborative effort, and I think that’s what makes us so good at what we do — you get all those different flavors melding into one dish, and then it’s something special.”
Thomas is now the sole remaining founding member of EXHORDER, which released its debut album, “Slaughter In The Vatican”, way back in 1990. In February 2020, EXHORDER parted ways with its original guitarist Vinnie LaBella, who wrote much of the material on “Mourn The Southern Skies”. The remaining members of the group later issued a statement saying that they would fulfill their “touring and recording obligations for 2020 and beyond.”
Asked if it’s “strange” for him to be the only remaining founding member of EXHORDER, Kyle told “The Dan Chan Show”: “At this point, I’ve jammed with so many people over the years — so many different lineups for this and that, fill-ins and all this stuff. To me, it doesn’t really matter as much who’s there, as long as the material that’s being played is being played within the spirit of that band in particular. And the stuff that we’re writing now, it’s amazing. I play it for a lot of people that are my confidants, people love the band, and they’re gonna shoot me straight. And the new stuff that we’re working on, everybody’s, like, ‘Wow. It sounds like EXHORDER to me.'”
EXHORDER released two albums in the early 1990s through the Roadrunner label — the aforementioned “Slaughter In The Vatican” and 1992’s “The Law” — before breaking up, with Kyle going on to form FLOODGATE and also briefly appearing live as the vocalist for TROUBLE, which he later joined on a full-time basis (and is still a member of).
EXHORDER, which is cited by many as the originator of the riff-heavy power-groove approach popularized by PANTERA, has just completed a U.S. headlining tour during which it performed “Slaughter In The Vatican” in its entirety.