The veteran San Francisco Bay Area thrash metal legends' tenth studio album is also their first long-layer to feature the singing/screaming talents of Steve "Zetro" Souza since 2004's Tempo of the Damned -- Rob Dukes, who handled vocal duties on the band's four prior outings, split with the group in the summer of 2014. Band and ex/current/deceased lead singer acrimony aside, the 11- track Blood In, Blood Out mostly crushes it, offering up a pulverizing set of textbook thrash-induced mayhem that somehow manages to sound both classic and vital. The band tosses a red herring into the pit with the electro-stomp intro to opener "Black 13," but it doesn't take long for guitarists Gary Holt and Lee Altus to unleash a barrage of staccato riffage that, like a perfectly calculated headshot, effectively drenches the listener in assorted bits of viscera. Elsewhere, Metallica's Kirk Hammet returns to the fold for a guest spot on the particularly crunchy "Salt the Wound," the relentless "Collateral Damage" arrives via a malevolently dissonant descending run that eventually morphs into the scaly backbone of the song, and the insidious title track, with its pit-antagonizing shout-out to late vocalist Paul Baloff ("We wrote the book so you better know the plot/new breed, old creed, let's see what you brought"), all succeed via their obvious disdain for whether or not anybody actually gives a sh*t. For all its excess (some tracks definitely overstay their welcome), Blood In, Blood Out, much like Cannibal Corpse's 2014 offering Skeletal Domain, sounds remarkably dialed-in for a band so long in the tooth, and while it doesn't break any new ground for the stalwart rockers, it certainly does little to tarnish their reputation as thrash royalty.
AllMusic Review by James Christopher Monger