EXODUS singer Steve "Zetro" Souza has offered an update on his bandmate Gary Holt, who recently tested positive for COVID-19, the disease caused by the new coronavirus, after returning from a European tour with TESTAMENT and DEATH ANGEL. Speaking in a new video on his YouTube channel, Zetro's Toxic Vault, Zetro said (see below): "I don't think [Gary] got an extreme case of it, because he was sick and had the symptoms, but he wasn't like Will [Carroll, DEATH ANGEL drummer] ended up. Actually, it seemed like by the time Gary got his results back saying he was positive, it was already through him and he was fine. And nobody else in the band [was] affected — in EXODUS anyway."
According to Souza, Holt's COVID-19 diagnosis "did put a damper" on EXODUS's ability to move forward with the songwriting process for the follow-up to 2014's "Blood In Blood Out" album.
"By now, we would have been working together for probably a good month on it," Zetro explained. "Gary's got many riffs and many things that he needs to put together. It starts with him and Tom [Hunting, EXODUS drummer], basically. Everybody knows, drummer and guitar, and that's how EXODUS has always done it. But because of this distancing, that's been kind of impossible to do, so that's put a damper on it. But I can guarantee you, I did hear some of the stuff that they were playing around with in soundcheck on 'The Bay Strikes Back' tour, and EXODUS fans are gonna be very pleased. Again, I'm not hearing full songs — I'm just hearing riffs and pieces and stuff like that — and I'm [like], 'Wow!' I'm not saying — it's just pretty damn heavy."
Holt joined EXODUS in 1981 shortly after the band's formation, and has been its main songwriter ever since. Holt has performed on every EXODUS album, and is considered highly influential in the world of thrash metal. In 2011, he began filling in for Jeff Hanneman at SLAYER live shows, and became the band's full-time co-guitarist as of 2013, while remaining a member of EXODUS. In October 2014, EXODUS released its tenth studio album, "Blood In Blood Out", on the Nuclear Blast label.
"Blood In Blood Out" marked EXODUS's first album since the departure of the group's lead singer of nine years, Rob Dukes, and the return of Souza, who previously fronted EXODUS from 1986 to 1993 and from 2002 to 2004.