Vocalist Kyle Thomas of New Orleans-based thrash metal pioneers EXHORDER has confirmed to "The Dan Chan Show" that he and his bandmates are "in pre-production for a new album" at the moment. He said (hear audio below): "I'm writing at home. Marzi's [Montazeri, guitar] writing at home. Jason [Viebrooks, bass] and Sasha [Horn, drums] are writing at home. They work together as well. So everybody's kind of piecing everything together. We share the files, we make recommendations to each other and tweak it. We're just throwing it to the wall and seeing what sticks. But so far, we've got some really, really good stuff [in the works]."
Asked if EXHORDER fans should expect to see the follow-up to 2019's "Mourn The Southern Skies" later this year, Kyle said: "If it's not released this year, it will probably be released in 2022. But Marzi's got probably close to 10 songs written on his own. Jason and Sasha put together about a half a dozen. Mostly what I do for EXHORDER songs is I write parts, and then I submit them, and then they might get used here and there. That's how it always was done in the past. There are some parts of mine that made it onto the old albums. But most of what I write, when I'm writing, ends up being more like the FLOODGATE stuff. On occasion, when there's something that I've written, they'll use. I'm not that worried about it. I just want great songs handed to me so I can do what I do.
"My biggest part, outside of writing vocals and lyrics, is the arrangement — helping to piece the song into the format that it needs to be in," he explained. "And just the overall production side of it, especially vocally, I like having input on — what part here, the intro should be this…
"EXHORDER's always been a team effort; it's never been one person writing all the music, one person writing all the vocals. It's not like that at all. It's always been a collaborative effort, and I think that's what makes us so good at what we do — you get all those different flavors melding into one dish, and then it's something special."
Thomas is now the sole remaining founding member of EXHORDER, which released its debut album, "Slaughter In The Vatican", way back in 1990. In February 2020, EXHORDER parted ways with its original guitarist Vinnie LaBella, who wrote much of the material on "Mourn The Southern Skies". The remaining members of the group later issued a statement saying that they would fulfill their "touring and recording obligations for 2020 and beyond."
Asked if it's "strange" for him to be the only remaining founding member of EXHORDER, Kyle said: "At this point, I've jammed with so many people over the years — so many different lineups for this and that, fill-ins and all this stuff. To me, it doesn't really matter as much who's there, as long as the material that's being played is being played within the spirit of that band in particular. And the stuff that we're writing now, it's amazing. I play it for a lot of people that are my confidants, people love the band, and they're gonna shoot me straight. And the new stuff that we're working on, everybody's, like, 'Wow. It sounds like EXHORDER to me.'"
EXHORDER released two albums in the early 1990s through the Roadrunner label — the aforementioned "Slaughter In The Vatican" and 1992's "The Law" — before breaking up, with Kyle going on to form FLOODGATE and also briefly appearing live as the vocalist for TROUBLE, which he later joined on a full-time basis (and is still a member of).
EXHORDER is cited by many as the originator of the riff-heavy power-groove approach popularized by PANTERA.
Photo by: Stephanie Cabral