Mem V. Stein: Vocals
Ray Mensh: Guitars
T. Schiavo: Bass
Matthias Kassner: Drums
Marc B.: Guitars
Exumer has never been in a rush. The influential German thrash veterans haven’t taken a typical career approach to being a band since they reformed in 2008. Still, Possessed by Fire (1986) and Rising from the Sea (1987) stand as highly-heralded triumphs of the genre, particularly the former. Upon reemerging from hibernation, Exumer released their third full-length worldwide on Metal Blade Records. Fire & Damnation was exceptionally well received, and the band performed a series of shows over the course of the following years across North America, Europe, and South America. Where Exumer goes, die hard thrash fans surely follow.
As 2015 drew to a close, Exumer teamed up with producer/engineer Waldemar Soychta at Waldstreet Sound in Dortmund, Germany. The result is The Raging Tides, a deliberate and violent thrash attack that stays entirely true to the band’s origins.
Conceptually and lyrically, vocalist Mem V. Stein has based the bulk of the record around human suffering. Specifically, he adds it is suffering “caused by torture or other means for political, religious, or personal gain for the individuals/organizations who inflict the pain. The album is called “The Raging Tides”, and the title represents the ebb and flow of human misery and despair around the globe.” These topics are obviously not born from a vacuum, rather they are essentially a constant in daily lives in 2015, both by way of the modern 24 hour news cycle, and document leaks and controversy via wikileaks or figures like Edward Snowden. Stein continues: “The lyrics I wrote were inspired by a wide range of books and articles I read, ranging from the investigation of tactics employed by the CIA, to Amnesty International reports on conditions in prisons (Song; Brand of Evil), and in Nigeria (extreme forms of human abuse – Song; Welcome to Hellfire).” Specifics details aren’t necessarily called out in the lyrics, rather the topics are clear for listeners who can read between the lines, so to speak. Another example is the track “Shadow Walker,” that touches on those who leave promising lives to pursue radical ideologies and even death, only to be deceived by those they follow for larger political and personal goals.
It should come as no surprise that a band as storied and experience as Exumer would want to make the claim that this is their pinnacle, thus far, as a band. Though with the time they are able to take, and with not being held firm to a more rigorous touring schedule and two year album cycle, they have the luxury of time and practically no outside pressure to write the albums they want to write. Stein explains, “The Raging Tides has the same explosive quality to it, and is a huge step forward from our last album, since we have felt and operated more like a fully working band for the past seven years. The songs are more precise, the delivery a lot more sophisticated than on Fire & Damnation – this is ultimate Exumer experience.“
Brief Exumer history:
Formed in 1985, by singer/bassist Mem V. Stein and guitarist Ray Mensh, Exumer released Possessed by Fire (1986), and 1987 (Rising from the Sea), that are regarded as some of the most cult thrash metal releases ever to come out of Germany. Exumer was also one of the first thrash metal acts to capture exotic, foreign markets like Poland and Brazil, where their albums were domestically released in the 1980s. Ultimately, the band was plagued by line-up changes and internal turmoil, which lead to a break up in 1990. The band performed live in 2001 at the prestigious Wacken Open Air Festival, which served as their only live appearance until 2009.
Mem and Ray decided to re-activate Exumer in 2008. The band embarked on their first tour since 1988 with five show in April and May of 2009. The “5 Nights of Fire Tour”, took the band through Europe (Germany, Holland, Greece), and the USA, where they headlined the “Thrasho de Mayo Festival”, in front of over a thousand fans in Los Angeles.
Metal Blade Records released Fire & Damnation in April of 2012, which catapulted Exumer back onto the forefront of the international music scene. Shows across the globe in 2012-2015 (Bang Your Head Festival in Germany, South and North American Offensive tour, Blastfest in Norway, European Frost and Fire tour, Wacken, Headbangers Open Air) further cemented the band’s cult status among the ranks of classic thrash metal acts in the world.