Slaughter in the Vatican

  • AllMusic Rating
  • User Ratings (0)
  • Your Rating

Slaughter in the Vatican Review

by Eduardo Rivadavia

Exhorder's limited success has often been blamed on their sounding just like Pantera minus the good songs, but perhaps a more accurate billing would be to call them Pantera minus the major-label backing. While this small but crucial detail offers a little more perspective, naming their debut album Slaughter in the Vatican, rather than something slightly more innocuous as, say, Cowboys from Hell, certainly didn't help Exhorder's cause any. Whatever the reasons behind their divergent paths to glory and obscurity, there's no disputing the striking similarities between these two Southern-bred post-thrash outfits when listening to forceful tracks like "Homicide," "Desecrator," and "Legions of Death." All of them are fueled by that distinctive, volatile blend of death metal-style double kick drums, chugging guitar riffs played at both slow and blistering tempos, and, to top it all off, the gruff but very expressive lead vocals of frontman Kyle Thomas. Whether spitting out intelligently controversial lyrics over the quasi-epic title track or wallowing in the gratuitous scatology of "Anal Lust," Thomas' muscular style sounds uncomfortably similar to Mr. Anselmo's -- further sparking the debate over who ripped off who. Ultimately, it's Slaughter in the Vatican's lack of songwriting diversity that was most responsible for scuttling its chances, but Exhorder would face this challenge head on two years later, when they bounced back with their much improved sophomore effort, The Law. [Slaughter in the Vatican was later paired with its successor, The Law, and reissued as part of Roadrunner's Two from the Vault series.]

blue highlight denotes track pick