Exhumed – Horror Review

Innovation is great and all, but what about dependability? Familiarity? Pushing boundaries is a necessary part of artistry, but excellence remains excellent, be it in some newfound territory or well within the confines of the established.

Release date: October 4, 2019. Label: Relapse Records.
For nearly thirty years (though not without a brief pause), the Californian gore-peddlers in Exhumed have churned out wickedly dependable excellence, all variations on themes laid forth in seminal masterworks by the likes of Carcass, Impetigo, Autopsy, and Repulsion. Beginning with gnarly blasts of gurgly grinding, Exhumed quickly morphed into a vicious slice ‘n’ dice gore metal machine, adding a melodic leaning, a thrash tint, and scads of razor-sharp hooks to their gutteral arsenal. In the process, they moved further from their grindcore genesis into a straight-ahead death metal outfit. As great as their grinding was and is, their death metal was even better, growing stronger across their initial run, culminating in the stellar Anatomy Is Destiny. Returning after their half-decade hiatus, Exhumed returned with back-to-back burners in All Guts, All Glory and Necrocracy and showed no signs of slowing down. Across all those thirty years and seven albums, from Gore Metal to Death Revenge, Exhumed has proved themselves masters of eminently catchy, hook-filled extreme metal.

Clearly inspired by 80s horror (as you’d expect) — with weathered cheap-VHS-indebted packaging and a “deluxe video rental” special-edition set to boot — the subtly and suitably titled Horror certainly sports its share of those signature blood-soaked hooks, from the “scream for your worthless life / die by the slashing knife” refrain in “Scream Out In Fright” or the beautiful simplicity of “Ripping death / ripping death / ripping fucking death” from — you guessed it — “Ripping Death.” Even within the often skull-pummeling fury, riffs and vocal lines reach out and skewer the ears with unshakeable claws, rending flesh and refusing to let go, even if these hooks are maybe buried a little deeper beneath the encrusted blood and grime than those on the previous few releases.

So that’s to say this: Horror is the grindiest batch of songs Exhumed has released in many a blood moon. It’s not a complete return to the earliest days that reeked of putrefaction, merely a step that re-introduces the grindcore component, and to strong results. Hitting the ground grinding with “Unsound,” Horror rips through its fifteen cuts in about 25 minutes (with 3 more and 6 longer, if you get the bonus track version, which you should), skipping nimbly across the crossroads of goregrind, thrash, and death through slashers like “Naked, Screaming, And Covered In Blood” and “Dead Meat” and the 7-second “Utter Mutilation Of Your Corpse.” Rife with blastbeats, grindier though it may be, Horror is still Exhumed, which means it’s constructed from cadaverous carving riffs aplenty and voiced by the dueling high-low scream-and-growl of Matt Harvey and Ross Sewage, and even when its at its noisiest, it’s irresistibly energetic.

Grind or death or somewhere between, Exhumed kills, and Horror is Exhumed doing what Exhumed does best, what they do extremely dependably. At this point, it should come as little surprise that Exhumed has released another burner — Horror is eminently engaging, viciously violently and remarkably fun. Louder, faster, and still 100% grade-A gore metal.

Get yourself slashed.

Posted by Andrew Edmunds

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; born in the cemetery, under the sign of the MOOOOOOON...

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