In a new interview with the "Shockwaves Skullsessions" podcast, EXODUS singer Steve "Zetro" Souza discussed METALLICA's late 1980s/early 1990s transition from being uncompromising thrash metal standard-bearers to arena rock's heaviest band.
"It's funny," he said (see video below). "[SLAYER's] Tom Araya told me one thing long, long, long ago. He said, 'Zetro, just stay heavy and everything else will fall into place.' And he's right. Who's the biggest band in the world? They're a thrash band. If you really look at it from the beginning, the biggest band in the world is a thrash band.
"In 1985, I remember, I [was] 21 years old," he continued. "I just finished the LEGACY [Zetro's pre-EXODUS band, later renamed TESTAMENT] demo. I had a guy, a very good friend of mine, and I remember the conversation fucking vividly. And he said, 'Do you ever think METALLICA will ever have a Number One record?' And I said, 'Of course I do.' And he was trying to rip me apart, going, 'It'll never happen.' And I said, 'I'm gonna tell you something' — and this is 1985 — 'as society gets heavier, so will the music.' And look, here we are — 35, 36 years later, and who's the biggest band [in the world]? Not just the biggest thrash band in the world — the biggest fucking band in the world."
EXODUS's new album, "Persona Non Grata", will be released this summer via Nuclear Blast. It will be 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.
"Persona Non Grata" 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.
"Persona Non Grata" will feature a guest appearance by ex-EXODUS guitarist Rick Hunolt.
Longtime EXODUS fans will recall that Hunolt — the other half of the famed EXODUS "H-Team" who is on every studio recording from 1985 through 2004 and co-wrote some of the band's best-known songs such as "A Lesson In Violence" and "Deliver Us To Evil" — left EXODUS after the band's highly acclaimed 2004 reunion album, "Tempo Of The Damned". Following his departure, Hunolt was replaced by HEATHEN guitarist Lee Altus.
"Blood In Blood Out" was notable for featuring a guest appearance by former EXODUS guitarist Kirk Hammett, who left the band in 1983 to join METALLICA.
The original lineup of EXODUS consisted of guitarists Hammett and Tim Agnello, Hunting and vocalist Keith Stewart. Holt joined the band in 1981, while Kirk left two years before EXODUS's debut album, "Bonded By Blood", saw the light of day.
Souza is now on his third stint with EXODUS, having previously fronted the band from 1986 to 1993 and 2002 to 2004. A decade following his second departure, Souza returned to the fold in 2014, just in time to appear on "Blood In Blood Out".