Exxplorer-Vengeance Rides An Angry Horse
Has it really been 15 years since Exxplorer's last album? "Coldblackugly" came out in 1996 and man has the metal landscape changed since then! We went from grunge to nu metal to metalcore. It's only been recently that we've seen a rise in traditional heavy metal once again. Thank the metal gods that Exxplorer are back together again. My only question would be what took you guys so long? The world needs your brand of traditional US power metal. It has been sorely missed guys! Welcome back Exxplorer. What a triumphal return "Vengeance Rides An Angry Horse" is. It is everything heavy metal should be and then some! For 15 years away Exxplorer sound better than ever. Vocalist Lenny Rizzo has returned to the fold and folks he is in top form. In fact if anything his voice has matured with time and from opener “Gypsy” on he is as forceful as ever. And the rest of the band? Same thing. As good as ever if not better. Lead by guitarist Kevin Kennedy this is on tight unit. "Vengeance Rides An Angry Horse" is a top notch heavy metal album. An actual album of real heavy metal tunes from start to finish. When was the last time you heard that phrase? "Glory Hunter" enters the picture after "Gypsy" and is full force American power metal. Same goes "Chasing The High". "Chasing The High" is one of the better numbers on Exxplorer's comeback album. Some real heavy metal guitar moments roar like a hungry lion on "The Vengeance" and (European Edition bonus track) "Return Of The Cycle". The lead guitar work throughout this album is over the top and "Return Of The Cycle" is Exxplorer at their very best. Speaking of killer lead guitar work check out the tune "S.N.O.E.". Here is another track where the band works their magic crafting power metal that is some of the best of 2011. "Valley Of Doom" is the same sort of highly crafted power metal that has everything it takes to make people finally notice just how killer Exxplorer are. "Hardcore" is another bonus cut (for the American version I believe though don't quote me on that) and is heavy and (no pun intended) hardcore power metal. Up tempo "Spirits Of The Wind" kicks in next followed by album closer "Freight Train To Hell". "Freight Train To Hell" is a little groove laden number that brings to mind old Exxplorer. What a good way to end "Vengeance Rides An Angry Horse". With nods to their past with an eye firmly set on the present Exxplorer has made one of my favorite power metal albums of 2011. I've already listened to this one close to a dozen times through and it just gets better with each listen. The production is just right. Not overly slick or over-produced. No, this is damn near perfect production. Rizzo's voice sounds incredible and the music is crisp and clean without too much gloss. "Vengeance Rides An Angry Horse" has my vote for comeback album of the year. Along with Hell's "Human Remains" and Death Mask's "Sitting In The Dark" this is one of the best "reborn" heavy metal offerings. If you haven't had a chance to listen to any new Exxplorer then try out “Chasing The High". One of the album's best numbers it allows this New Jersey act to shine. Ladies and gentlemen/ boys and girls this is a band on fire once more. Don't fear the fire. Embrace the fire. Exxplore are back and like the heavy handed track "Freight Train To Hell" suggests the fire is calling you and I.