In a new interview with Alex Gallagher of Tucson Weekly, EXODUS frontman Steve "Zetro" Souza confirmed that he and his bandmates are planning to enter the studio on March 1, 2024 to begin work on the follow-up to 2021's "Persona Non Grata" album.
Regarding what keeps him motivated to continue making music, Souza said: "I'm just driven. It's what I've done since I was 21. I'm almost 60 now, and it's just what you do. I owe it to the fans who still want to see us.
"I love THE CARS, but you can't do THE CARS, because Ric Ocasek and Ben Orr have passed away," he explained. "You can't replace Lemmy; you can't see MOTÖRHEAD anymore. You can't see the RAMONES. There's still such a fan base for bands like that. I think that goes as well for us.
"So many bands of our genre — EXODUS, DEATH ANGEL, METALLICA, FORBIDDEN — owe it to the fans. If it's not hindering your life, why wouldn't you keep going? This is what you wanted when you were 14, playing air guitar to your bed. I don't take it for granted."
EXODUS's fall 2023 tour with FIT FOR AN AUTOPSY, DARKEST HOUR and UNDEATH kicked off on November 15 in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and will conclude on December 10 in New Kensington, Pennsylvania.
During a question-and-answer session on July 27 at Diablo Guitars in Renton, Washington, where he was holding a guitar clinic, EXODUS guitarist Gary Holt was asked about the band's recent switch from Nuclear Blast Records to Napalm Records. He responded: "It's just one of those things. We were with Nuclear Blast for a long time — since 2003 — but sometimes, you know, change is good. There was a ton of change at Nuclear Blast and I kind of knew one person there anymore and I used to know everybody. And this might be my last record deal. I'm 59 years old, so I wanted to make sure it was right. I hope so. But I'm pretty confident. They're all 100 percent behind this band."
This past May, EXODUS canceled its previously announced summer 2023 European tour so that Holt could "tend to his family" after his brother was hospitalized in Italy.
Holt joined EXODUS in 1981, shortly after the band's formation, and has been the group's main songwriter ever since. Holt has performed on every EXODUS album, and is considered highly influential in the world of thrash metal.
Holt began filling in for SLAYER guitarist Jeff Hanneman at live shows in 2011, and became the band's full-time co-guitarist as of 2013, while remaining a member of EXODUS. Holt played on SLAYER's final album, "Repentless", which came out in 2015.
"Persona Non Grata" came out in November 2021 via Nuclear Blast Records. The LP was recorded at a studio in Lake Almanor, California and was engineered by Steve Lagudi and EXODUS. It was produced by EXODUS and was mixed by Andy Sneap. For the third time in the band's history, they returned to Swedish artist Pär Olofsson to create the album artwork.
"Persona Non Grata" was the follow-up to 2014's "Blood In Blood Out", which was the San Francisco Bay Area thrashers' first release 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.