Exumer are one of the living legends of German Thrash. After having re-released their stunning debut “Possessed By Fire” from 1986, High Roller Records now give you the chance to add their second album to your vinyl collection. “Rising From the Sea” from 1987 was Exumer’s last output in the full-length format before the split in 1991. Back then, it was Paul Arakari who had taken over the vocal duties, but still, original vocalist Mem von Stein has something to say about its significance for Exumer: “The album was quite important because it was our sophomore release and meant either to cement our reputation as one of the serious and upcoming thrash bands out of Germany, or to sink.” Mem’s own favourite song on the album is ‘Winds of Death’, “but there are a few good songs on that record that we still play live to this day.”
Compared to the debut album “Possessed By Fire”, the band’s second output went in a more “Slayer” sounding style of thrash with some of the Exumer trademarks and also showcased some improved technical aspects with regard to musicianship that “Possessed By Fire” did not have, since it was a pretty straightforward album. Also, in terms of the production, “Rising From the Sea” differs from its predecessor in that it is a lot rawer and rather bare-boned. Does Mem agree on that?
“Yes I do. I don't think it was intentional, since the band was under a lot of pressure to record and write at the same time, and thus the production suffered a little.”
Reviewers were quite enthusiastic about Ray Mensh's superb guitar work – yet this is not the only outstanding feature of the album: “Ray's guitar work was awesome, but Paul also delivered the right vocal style, matching the song writing and style. I think those are my two favourite aspects of the album.”
Just as “Possessed By Fire”, “Rising From the Sea” will be remastered by Patrick W. Engel at Temple of Disharmony, which is something Mem totally approves of: “I think HRR do a very detail-oriented job and they try to improve all the original releases as much as possible, without losing the integrity of the original material.”
After 1987, Exumer released only one more demo titled “Whips and Chains”, before the band decided to call it quits. What were the reasons for the split? And what was it like to start anew, especially for Mem, who came back to a band that had seen two other singers in the meantime? ”Well, I think the band came to a logical "end point", precisely after having to work with two additional singers after I left. The inspiration tank ran on empty and at some point people instinctively know when to throw in the towel, so to speak.
It was not strange for me to start the band back up, since it was me who started the band in the first place back in 1985. I had asked Ray back then if he wanted to form a band, and in 2008, I asked Ray if he wanted to reform the band with me.
Exumer has always been the brainchild of the two of us, regardless whether I played in the band or not. Ray continued the band when I left and I would not have Exumer without Ray.”
After having reformed, Exumer are fighting their way back into the centre of the scene’s attention. They played the Bang Your Head in 2013, and reviewers regarded them as one of the big surprises of the festival, proving that Exumer are “still one of the best yet underrated bands in thrash metal”. How did Mem himself experience playing there? “It was a great day, there were totally positive and thrashed out vibes all day long, and I think that attitude combined with our usually aggressive stage acting brought the best out of us. We were super happy when we saw the crowd react positively to our show and even more elated when we read that the press enjoyed it as well. A show is a subjective thing, some might love it, some might think it's OK, and there are others who really dislike it. That day I think the majority of the fans and the press enjoyed what they saw, which in turn gives us great pleasure as a band and as performers.”
Let’s take a look into the crystal ball – what will the future look like for Exumer, at least as far as the band can influence it themselves?
“We will write and hopefully record the new album in 2014, with a release date in late 2014, or very early 2015. Then it's going out to play live again, touring, touring and some more touring.” Asked if there was anything that had not been said about the re-release of “Rising From the Sea”, Mem has something to say to the fans of Exumer: “I hope everyone enjoys this re-release as much as we do, and I want to thank everyone who is involved in making the reissue possible and most of all our fans; without them there is no us!”