Kyle Thomas (EXHORDER) on RockOverdose: “An Exhorder show is more of an experience than just a concert.”

US pioneers of extreme sound EXHORDER are finally visiting, for the first time!

Kyle Thomas answers our  questions, covering all aspects of their career. From their flagship debut “Slaughter In The Vatican” (1990) to their most recent work, “Defectum Omnium”, released in early March via Nuclear Blast Records, being a bridge between the glorious past and the most modern trends in their music.

Read on the interview below and prepare properly for Sunday, May 26, 2024, at Kyttaro Club in Athens Greece.


Exhorder will be joined by the Dutch metal act, God Dethroned!


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RockOverdose: First of all, I’d like to know the feeling of coming back from the deat for good in 2017 and making “Mourn TheSouthern Skies” afterwards. What gave you the motive for this decision and looking back at the album, how much important has it been for your history so far?


Kyle Thomas (EXHORDER): It is always a great risk when Exhorder attempts to get back together after many years apart. This band over the course of its history has had a very difficult time maintaining peace from within. And if you ask different members why, you’ll probably get different explanations. So when Jason VieBrooks presented us with the fact that a management company called All Independent Service Alliance was interested in taking Exhorder as a client and helping the band reach its true potential, we finally agreed to give it another shot. But by the time we were getting around to the recording process of Mourn the Southern Skies, all of the problems that usually caused Exhorder to start imploding had surfaced, from my perspective. Basically there is nobody left in the band that has fond memories of the making of that album. I think after it was completed, Mourn the Southern Skies sonically sounded better than Slaughter in the Vatican and The Law. But as far as the songwriting goes, there are a few really solid songs and a few that are just kind of there for me. I don’t hate it, but much like The Law, we were not very prepared to get started recording and there was a lot of writing and experimenting still happening in the studio. That’s usually a bad idea, especially financially.


RockOverdose: “Defectum Omnium” is out 4 and half years since the previous album and I guess the pandemic had its part for this delay. Could we have an insight for the album’s creation and how easy or difficult it was compared to its predecessor?


Kyle Thomas (EXHORDER): We were really just getting started to tour in support of Mourn the Southern Skies when the pandemic happened. So we didn’t get the full two year touring cycle for that album. But instead of sitting there doing nothing, we decided to start writing songs while we were stuck at home. And the whole experience the pandemic brought- the fear, the isolation, the death- all of that gave us exactly what we needed to build an album that had a theme to it.



RockOverdose: On this new resurrection of Exhorder, apart from the vocals, you also handle the guitars. How did you take the decision? It is something that holds you up a bit as a frontman during gigs, or does it come naturally for you without problems?


Kyle Thomas (EXHORDER): Well, let’s just say desperate times call for desperate measures. I’ve grown weary of having a revolving door of people on the guitar, and I’ve been a musician since I was eight years old. So for me, I would just rather take the responsibility on my own shoulders and eliminate the need for another person. It simplifies things immensely for a lot of reasons. And because I’m having more fun in this band than I ever have before, I don’t feel that we’ve lost anything by me having a guitar around my neck.



RockOverdose: The new album brings Pat O’Brien as an official member. Having met Pat multiple times, I can tell he’s one of the best persons a fan can meet. How did you get to cooperate and how easy was it for him to adjust to your needs?


Kyle Thomas (EXHORDER): Jason and Pat are from the same area. They’ve known each other since they were teenagers. So it was pretty easy. Sasha and I knew and liked Pat before we spoke with him about jamming with us. It’s been a pretty easy transition, really. We love the guy. But for Defectum Omnium, he requested that he only play solos, because our songs were already written and Jason and I were playing the rhythm parts just fine. On the next album he will probably contribute more in that capacity.



RockOverdose: In your opinion, what does “Defectum Omnium” offer to the listener compared to “Mourn The Southern Skies”?


Kyle Thomas (EXHORDER): Mourn the Southern Skies to me sounds like a band trying to find its identity. And that’s not the fault of one person. When you take twenty seven years off from doing something, it’s going to be a challenge to sort out how to start up again and what direction to go in. In my opinion, Defectum Omnium is a lot more clear and concise as to the focus of the task at hand. The songs were meticulously crafted and set in stone before we started recording, instead of trying this or that on studio time. And the themes that the songs spoke of were all very linear. We also did some things in the production that had never been done before that we feel worked to the band’s advantage. For the first time in the history of this band, the bass tracks were 100% done by a true bass player and featured properly in the mix. The bass was often treated as a third guitar in the past, and as a former bass player myself I never quite understood why this was done. We also used more guitar amps than ever before in the tracking process, and blended in the tones to create something unique and new for this band. You should always try new things when making a new album to give it a separate identity from anything done previously.



Rockoverdose: I think you took a deep dive in your roots and the beginning of all things with many Black Sabbath-driven parts, which is your opinion on its sound in general?


Kyle Thomas (EXHORDER): A lot of fans felt that Mourn the Southern Skies did not have enough of the old school feel of the band from our early thrash/punk development. Exhorder built itself in the punk community for the first five years of our existence, not the metal community. So when Jason, Sasha, and I started writing the bulk of the songs for Defectum Omnium, we felt like we needed to bring more of that back into the feel of the album, like our demos Get Rude and Slaughter in the Vatican had. Additionally, the doom vibe is also very strong. That first appeared on an Exhorder album with (Cadence of) The Dirge on The Law. That process continued on Mourn the Southern Skies, and Defectum Omnium as well. It’s an honest thing. Black Sabbath is my all time favorite band. Trouble had a strong influence on Exhorder, and I still sing for that band also. It makes sense.



RockOverdose: Exhorder is one of those cases where legacy stood strong despite your absence. Noone ever forgot you despite only having two albums back then. Did you feel this vibe following you on your Alabama Thunderpussyand Trouble days?


Kyle Thomas (EXHORDER): It’s true, Exhorder grows even when we are not a functioning band. It’s always been that way. And we’re lucky, because that is rare. But when I would tour with Trouble or Alabama Thunderpussy, there always were a lot of people that would bring their Exhorder stuff for me to sign.



RockOverdose: Did you ever expect this love and response all these years?

Kyle Thomas (EXHORDER): I never expect anything. Nothing is guaranteed. But it is greatly appreciated, I can promise you.




RockOverdose: With Exhorder pretty active and still being with the aforementioned bands, knowing there is a solo album of yours in the works, how will you manage to schedule possible recordings and tours?

Kyle Thomas (EXHORDER): I don’t know, I must be an insane person.


RockOverdose: Will Exhorder be your priority nonetheless?

Kyle Thomas (EXHORDER):I think the smart thing to do always is to feed the strongest one and the rest will benefit from it ultimately.



RockOverdose: Any idea when should we expect new A.T./Trouble material or the solo album?

Kyle Thomas (EXHORDER): Trouble has already begun the recording process for our next album. I’m not sure when Alabama Thunderpussy fits into that. And my solo album has not gotten past pre-production stage at this time. I’ve got at least a half dozen or more songs in demo stages that are really cool in my opinion. Very different from Exhorder, for sure.



RockOverdose: Every great band is always defined by a great album and so goes with you with “Slaughter In The Vatican”. What makes it still significant after 34 years, and what was the background of its recording back then, given that the demos were already out while all of you being quite young?


Kyle Thomas (EXHORDER):I don’t know, I think we were just saying some things that people were thinking back then. Musically we had put a bit of a different flavor on top of what some of our heroes were doing at the time. It was just a perfect storm, probably.




RockOverdose: Finally we’re seeing you for the first time in Greece, a dream for all your longtime fans but also the new generations that got to know you with the last two albums. What should we expect from your performance and which is the main reason someone must witness Exhorder live before he dies?


Kyle Thomas (EXHORDER): We’re bringing a high energy show with a nice mixture of old and new songs. Something from every one of our albums. I’m not sure how important it is to see us before you die as you stated, but a lot people have told me over the years that an Exhorder show is more of an experience than just a concert. Something organic and symbiotic between the audience and the band that makes it very special and intimate.



RockOverdose: Could we take a little time to acknowledge the marvelous “Penalty” album you made with Floodgate? I deeply love it and it follows me since release. How did you take the decision of releasing it back then in difficult times for metal sound with alternative/groove stuff prevailing?


Kyle Thomas (EXHORDER): Well, thank you for that. Floodgate “Penalty”was special and maybe released at a time in between when it should have been. Later than the 70’s and right before stoner rock really took off. But the album is more rock than metal, so it has a timelessness about it. I’ll always be proud of it, and I think it sucks that by the time we really had found ourselves and were the best version of that band, our label threw us away in favor of developing nu-metal bands. Bad timing, no doubt.



RockOverdose: We’re grateful for your time and answers, what does the future hold for Exhorder and which are your close future plans at the moment? Close the interview the way you see fit. Thank you so much for all the years.


Kyle Thomas (EXHORDER): We’re just trying to reach the potential that this band has, and to fulfill our dreams that we have had since childhood. Everything seems to be on the upswing for us right now, so we’ll keep doing it until it doesn’t make sense anymore or isn’t any fun. Thank you so much for the interview, we will be in Greece soon!



On behalf of RockOverdose,

Aggelos Katsouras