Exodus - Bonded by Blood - April 25, 1985
As soon as the first frantic riff of the title track kicks in, it's obvious that this is another step forward for thrash metal. We haven't heard this before. The level of violence has been increased, not only in the riffage, which is obvious, but in the lyrics too. James Hetfield hinted at one of thrash's major lyrical themes of street violence with "Seek & Destroy" but Paul Baloff got downright explicit. I mean, "We'll kick in your face, and rape and murder your wife"? These guys aren't messing around!
There's a bit of a disconnect between Baloff and the rest of the band though. The band -- the 'H-team' and all that -- are a well-oiled killing machine. These guys lock into a groove and are almost business-like about it. They're so fucking tight, it's ridiculous. Then we have Paul fucking Baloff, who is more metal than a goddamn anvil but any true skill or talent he does not have. Paul flails into every song like a drunken street fighter while the band systematically dismembers you with the steady hand of a trained killer. It's a mismatch.
That being said, this is probably the most influential thrash record we've seen other than the first two and Ride the Lightning. Bands will emulate this style throughout the 80's to varying degrees of success -- hell, bands are still emulating it. Is it the best album ever made? No, there are songs that are less than great, but Bonded by Blood is one of those blueprint albums, and it's a good one.
Standouts: Strike of the Beast, Metal Command, Bonded by Blood