In a recent interview with Drowned In Sound, vocalist Steve "Zetro" Souza was asked about EXODUS's longevity and enduring influence, more than thirty years after the release of the San Francisco Bay Area thrash metal act's debut album, "Bonded By Blood".
"Why do I think people still care about our band? Because there's very few other bands making the same kind of music as us," he said. "So a lot of it is passed down from the older generation mainly because there is no real medium playing this kind of music either. You can't find any television channel or radio show that plays extreme metal. They don't exist. But what does exist are loyal fans that love this music regardless of what anybody else tells them. That's why heavy metal isn't a type of music, it's a way of life. So when I see people walking around with battle jackets on full of badges and patches with EXODUS among them it makes me so proud. It's awesome. That's what we really get out of this. For us, it's justification for still being able to do this after thirty-two years. We're very fortunate. Very blessed."
Souza also spoke about the fact that many people cite EXODUS as the first-ever thrash metal band. "I think it's nice for people to say that but I don't read too much into it," he said. "San Francisco is a huge city but Sacramento is the capital, and that's how we feel when people say stuff like that. So METALLICA are San Francisco whereas we're Sacramento! We've always been there, if you know what I mean. We've been a staple since 1886 or whenever! I think that's how most people perceive EXODUS.
"Thrash metal fans are very loyal," he continued. "I'm not really a fan of breaking it down into subgenres, 'cause, to me, metal is metal. Whether you're in DOKKEN or MÖTLEY CRÜE or play death metal, I don't fucking care. Metal is metal and we all have the same things in common. We like it hard, we like it heavy and we move our heads to the music. There's a certain culture around us that we like. Our shirts are very violent, we all dress a certain way. It's like we have our own identity and that's metal. We don't represent anything nice. We represent everything about our music, our culture. The longevity for heavy metal is endless."
Ultimately, Souza believes that EXODUS is still considered relevant in the metal scene because "we write good songs," he said. "You tell me a thrash metal record from the last ten years that wasn't good? TESTAMENT puts out quality shit. DEATH ANGEL puts out quality shit. SLAYER puts out quality shit. ANTHRAX puts out quality shit. METALLICA keep putting out quality shit. I really like 'Death Magnetic' and everything they've put out after. It's the idea of what this is all about. Even the records Rob [Dukes, former vocalist] sang on that I didn't sing on, I thought they were brutal. Some of EXODUS's finest records. I love to sing those songs now. We play some of them live."
EXODUS guitarist Gary Holt confirmed in a recent interview that the band is "hoping to be in the studio late this year or early 2018" to begin recording its next disc.
Regarding the musical direction of the new EXODUS material, Holt said: "Of the stuff I've written so far, I think the songs are shorter, but I think they're also at the same time more progressive than the last album. It's a little outside the box. It's really super crushing, but I think people will be surprised.
"It's an EXODUS album, but as of now, the stuff Tom [Hunting, drums] and I have been putting together is a bit different," he added. "It's got those subtle changes that make for a departure, but it will still stay true to the core of the band's sound."