CONCERT REVIEW: Exodus – Exploding Zombies – Jesus Wept Live at The Machine Shop

The nights are getting colder in Michigan, but that did not deter devoted metal heads from trekking out to Flint’s revered venue, The Machine Shop last week. Thrash legends Exodus came to town gifting us with a headlining show. The band just wrapped up a month-long run with deathcore outfit Fit For An Autopsy and they seemed more than thrilled to play a much longer set.


The crowded concert lounge bustled with folks decked out in their prized denim and leather. The room was lit with festive decorations and created a jovial feeling as local act Jesus Wept opened the show up. Another neighborhood name, Exploding Zombies, took the stage next. Both bands played quite thirsty and keen. They put valiant efforts into their lively sets and seemed to be well received by the sold-out room.

Then the metal masters Exodus arrived in all their glory to deliver a set jam packed with fantastic fan favorites. They kicked things off with ‘Impact is Imminent’ and immediately bombarded the room with a rigorous raucous. The heat from their speed and precise pounding wafted over the adoring fans. The roars from devotees nearly matched the meaty music being hammered out. The nostalgia was strong when ‘Piranha’, ‘Brain Dead’, and ‘Fabulous Disaster’ were played. The thickness and technicality coming from guitar genius Gary Holt was wondrous to witness live. Seeing each one of these veterans playfully and powerfully perform was a humbling experience. The variety from vocalist Steve Souza’s scratchy screeches to screams to sprechgesang held the captivated audience tightly. The finesse and fury from original member Tom Hunting on the drums gave a delicious accent and weighty drama to everything.

The old school vibes flowed with a whip-like cracking, crunching, and chaotic noise from each song. There was constant movement and hair swinging as every band member flew about the stage. Darkest Hour’s Mike Schleibaum filled in for bassist Jack Gibson and his buoyant energy added an extra layer of spry to the sinister pandemonium. It is hard to believe that their debut album, Bonded by Blood (Torrid Records) is nearly forty years old and that they can still deliver its heavenly harsh and heavy songs with the same fervid force as they did back in the day. Their faces held satisfaction as they banged out songs they have played hundreds of times. The enthused crowd cleared a small space for a decent circle pit to form. With horns in the air, many sped around from the first to last song. The finale, ‘Strike of the Beast’ was banged out with such viciousness that no one wanted it to end. Yet as the lights went up, the room erupted with boisterous, thankful cheers. It was a Christmas miracle for all who got to fully revel in seeing Exodus live.

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