Exodus revealed last week that they would be releasing their highly anticipated record, “Blood In, Blood Out,” on October 14th via Nuclear Blast Records. As we all know by now, this record marks the return of Steve “Zetro” Souza as the front man, plus it will feature a guest guitar solo from Kirk Hammett! What can we expect? The only hint about the new material that we’ve received so far is from Gary Holt, who said “the album is very fast and has more of a punk rock feel to it.”
Would you like to know a little bit more? Last night I got to speak Steve “Zetro” Souza about his return to the legendary band, their upcoming record, his passion for metal, and much more! Enjoy the interview below!
Metal Mark: First things first, how does it feel to be back with Exodus again after ten years?
Steve “Zetro” Souza: Thanks man, it feels awesome. I’ve been excited about a lot of things in my life musically, but this definitely tops the list. We are all on the same page; let the past stay the past, and are focusing on the future, and it’s just amazing.
MM: You obviously had a career since you parted ways with the group, so what made you try out again this time around?
Zetro: I know a lot of people thought it was a random, out of the blue choice, but I did have to audition for the spot. Basically my attitude going into that was “let’s do this!” It was a cool experience, because like I said, we talked about things that had happened in the past, talked about moving forward, and we were all on the same page at the same time. So we all agreed to make it happen, and let me tell you, we are having a blast right now.
MM: Hell yes. That’s great to hear! You mentioned in your statement to the fans that the blood still flowed for this music and band. Did you ever imagine yourself returning in those ten years after parting way?
Zetro: That’s an interesting question because part of my wants to say yes, and part of me wants to say no. I look at it like this. You never say never. It’s like you’re a family ya know. You have a disagreement, or whatever, with one of the members, and decide not to speak with them again, but then you get together later on in life, talk it out, and you are family again. Somehow, some way, you are back to where you were, and you move on. That’s pretty much how it happened, so Exodus is definitely my family, and yes, the blood still flows hard brother.
MM: That’s awesome to hear. We’ve all seen the fan footage of your return with the band live in Europe, and I have to know, what were your emotions like before your returned to the stage with these guys?
Zetro: I can’t remember the last time my adrenaline was that high in my life (laughs). We opened with “Bonded By Blood,” and my heart was racing so much, I didn’t really know where I was at times (laughs). I’ve sung that song live so many times, but I was struggling to keep my composure because I was so amped to be back on stage with these guys. Plus, the reception from the fans was absolutely tremendous. Hell, everywhere we’ve played so far has had great energy, and we are bringing it like never before, so it’s definitely something all metal fans should find a way to see, especially once we start throwing in the new material.
MM: Speaking of the new material, “Blood In, Blood Out” is coming on October 14th thanks to Nuclear Blast Records. We’ve only heard a little bit about what to expect from Gary, but how would you best describe the album?
Zetro: Dude it’s such a killer record. Wait until you hear it… I know Gary said it was faster than the previous few albums, but this might be the fastest Exodus album ever. I know that’s a big statement, but it’s ridiculously fast and angry from start to finish. I also think it’s a good blend of what I did with the band, with their newer material, so both old and new fans of the band will definitely enjoy it. I know it’s cliche to say, especially now that I’m back, but I think it’s the best Exodus record yet. The songs are all so well written and well performed, and there’s nothing ‘nice’ about it (laughs). I mean, you wouldn’t expect something ‘nice’ from an Exodus album, but this is just mean on every level. Gary Holt is the real deal. Obviously, the guy is in Slayer and Exodus, so we all know that, but some of the riffs he came up with for this record are just unreal heavy. Plus, with everyone else clicking on the new stuff, it just came out awesome. Whether it’s the riffs, bass, drums, or my vocals, it’s just a nasty, angry record that people are going to absolutely go crazy about when they hear it.
MM: You’ve obviously evolved your vocals over the years, so can we expect “classic” Zetro on this record, or did you switch it up a bit?
Zetro: “Classic” Zetro from start to finish brother. I think that’s what Gary was looking for with the new music too. He knew my voice had evolved with Hatriot, but he definitely wanted the sound I had with Exodus, which I figured, so there shouldn’t be too many surprises on the record. It was really easy to record this album because of that too. I knew exactly what they wanted, and I delivered on every level I think. Hell, they wouldn’t have sent it off to be mastered if they didn’t like it (laughs).
MM: What would you say was the biggest difference from recording with the guys now, as opposed to back in the day?
Zetro: The maturity, without a doubt. That’s easy to say, but it’s true. We are all professionals. We knew what we wanted, so we just went in there and did it. Like I said before, we were all clicking on all cylinders, and produced this monster that will be out in October. Plus, there was no pressure. I know with being out of the band for a decade, people may have thought there would be extra pressure on me, but there wasn’t. It was a very relaxed and smooth recording process, which made for the best result in the end.
MM: Speaking of the end result, we haven’t heard any songs yet, so do you have any favorites in mind that fans should be looking out for?
Zetro: All of them (laughs). I know that’s a bad answer, but every track is just so damn impressive to me. It’s one of those rare records that I look forward to hearing the next track every time. If I had to choose a favorite, it would either be “Wrapped In The Arms Of Rage” and “Numb.” Honestly though, this is a full album. I know it’s an era where people only listen to singles, but we set out to make an album that is enjoyable to listen to from beginning to end. We are old school, and we aren’t changing our ways, so you’ll get a punishing thrash record the entire listen. It’s eleven songs that will leave you breathless. Don’t you worry (laughs).
MM: Hell yes. Well after each’s album is released, a tour in support of the music is required, and you are returning with Slayer and Suicidal Tendencies later this year. Do you have any idea about how much of the new stuff we’ll hear?
Zetro: We were just talking about that in practice, and we aren’t really sure yet. I think we have a thirty-five or forty minute set on that tour, so we have a lot of material to fit in (laughs). Think about it though. We know what the fans want to hear, we want to please our fans, but we also want to promote the new album too. Right now we are just asking ourselves how to fit stuff from ten albums in that little time slot (laughs). It’s damn near impossible if you ask me, so we aren’t sure how much of the new stuff you’ll hear yet. We will definitely play the crowd pleasers for sure though. We know our roots, and the classics that fans want, so they will be delivered.
MM: Fans will love to hear that I’m sure. For the last question, your history in the scene is well known, and you’ve basically done it all, but yet you seemed revived again and more eager to get out there than ever. What continues to drive you to this day?
Zetro: I’m still a fan. It’s as simple as that. We are playing Heavy Montreal this weekend with basically every band ever, and I get to play with those bands. It’s so cool to me. Just to see these legends on the stage for free is an honor, but to be able to play it is just awesome to me. It’s never left me. I love this music with all my heart, and I want to play this music as long as I can. I live for that stage. I live to write music. I’ve known it from a young age, and it hasn’t changed to this day. It’s all I know.
MM: Very cool. Thank you so much for taking out the time tonight to speak with me. Do you have anything else you’d like to say to the fans out there?
Zetro: Ladies and gentleman, get to your local gyms immediately, because with Slayer, Exodus and Suicidal Tendencies all on the same bill, you can expect some carnage in the pit. Only the strong will survive, I guarantee that. Exodus is coming to throw down like we never have before, so get ready.