Exodus may be in the middle of recording a new album (while guitarist Gary Holt also continues to fill in for Slayer). However, that hasn’t stop that Bay Area thrash legends from undergoing a major lineup change. More specifically, Exodus has announced that they’ve not only parted ways with singer Rob Dukes, but have also replaced him with his predecessor Steve ‘Zetro’ Souza.
Gary Holt confirmed that Exodus were parting ways with Dukes roughly nine years after he replaced Souza with the following statement:
“As a band, we all had to make a very difficult choice to part ways with Rob Dukes. We have nothing but love and admiration for him and the deepest gratitude for the hard work he has put in and the great work on some killer records. But at this time, Tom, Lee, Jack and myself thought a change was necessary and the unanimous choice going forward was to welcome back Steve Souza to the fold!”
In the same statement, Souza added “I spent a great part of my life with Exodus, that blood flows through me, even not being in the band for the past 10 years, you can’t erase that chemistry. I’m very excited!”
This switch-a-roo may come as a surprise for a few reasons, one being that fans had actually really come to like Dukes and the last few albums he did with the band. Another reason why its relatively shocking to see Souza (who previously fronted the band from 1986-1993 and 2002-2004) back in Exodus is because he and Holt didn’t really part ways on good terms last time around. While they made amends over time, Holt initially referred to Souza as “human crap”. Furthermore, when Souza even hinted a few years back that he’d be down to return to Exodus, Holt shot down reunion talks and said “What TOTAL disrespect he showed to me, Rob, and this band. I guess he figures he’ll take it to the streets to build up some kind of hype. He believes what he wants to believe, I guess, that the entire world is waiting for his glorious return…Move on, man, move on. [You] had your chance, [you] didn’t want to work at it, now it’s not waiting for you anymore.” Ironically, even Souza shot down the chance of him rejoining Exodus just a few months back.
So what changed? What inspired Exodus to not only part ways with Dukes but actually go back to Souza? Whatever the real reason may be, Souza is officially back and will likely soon make his first appearance on an Exodus album since 2004’s Tempo of the Damned. Souza will also likely be making his return to the stage with Exodus at the Bang Your Head Festival in Germany on July 11.