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When an album cover depicts four long haired zombies devouring the flesh of the dead from the grave, I expect it to be a very unrelenting death metal album. Dismemberment, mutilation, disembowelment, and any other descriptor for human evisceration are what I expect to drive the music and lyrics. Exhumed delivers the splattered gore on All Guts, No Glory; a visceral mess of American death metal riffs artfully entwined with Swedish style melodic solos.
Most modern death metal strive to be as technical as possible, sweeping better than Cinderella (the fairy tale character, not the ’80s glam metal band of the same name) across the fretboard and tapping like a tap dancer on a high-wire, demonstrating the guitarists’ skills honed in the bedroom woodshop while maintaining as much atonality as possible in order to be more brutal than Dethklok. Exhumed maintain the speed of mid-'90s death metal while adding in very memorable and headbanging riffs such as the main one on “As Hammer to Anvil”, “Through Cadaver Eyes” or “I Rot Within”.
The blood-drenched riffs are complimented by the deep growls and dry rasp of lead guitarist and vocalist Matt Harvey. Rather than sounding separate from the music, Harvey uses his pipes as a fourth instrument. I’m sure the lyrics focus on death and gore in a myriad of ways, but their message doesn’t matter as the music delivers the death and decay well enough with the vocals imparting the fatal blow to the skull, ejecting all of the gray matter on the bloodstained amps.
Normally such brutal music will get extremely old after several minutes and there are definitely instances where Exhumed don’t let up such as on “Distorted and Twisted to Form”, reaching back into their grindcore roots and discharging with atonal and whammy-laden solos lifted from Reign in Blood-era Slayer. “Necrotized” retains the grindcore sensibilities and allows bassist Leon del Muerte (Leon of Death) to be heard in a distorted burst. The relentless and often groovy blood riffs are countered by a respite through melodious leads.
Hearing these soaring solos, you’d think that the trio of Exhumed hail from Sweden rather than California. “Your Funeral, My Feast” demonstrates Harvey’s knack for writing tremendous, melodic solos. They create a nice break before jumping straight back into the murderous fray such as on “Death Knell”.
Despite being around for over 20 years, Exhumed has proven themselves to not fall into irrelevancy by promptly shattering the skulls and eating the intestines of the younger bands through relentless riffs, melodic solos, and demonic vocals. They have all the guts and certainly deserve all the glory.
Originally Posted on Teeth of the Divine
In 2011, a trend can start and end in a couple months. With a dozen new releases in every genre every day and people writing about music on umpteen million blogs (I'm guilty, too), it just moves fast. Take, for instance, the so-called New Wave of Old-School Death Metal. It was identified as a reaction to the too clean, too technical sound of modern death metal. The NWOOSDM seems to have started some time in the middle of 2010, and here we are in the middle of 2011 and the anti-trend of NWOOSDM is now the trend. Some people are already getting sick of it.
Is it now anti-trend to release a modern death metal album? What's cool (or anti-cool) today? Don't ask Exhumed, because they obviously don't care.
The death metal veterans' grindy, thrashy, high-speed death metal is neither trend nor anti-trend. They're just doing what they do, and doing it well. The modern production probably isn't considered cool today. The straight-forward songs have neither technical wizardry nor atmospheric oppressiveness. It's just pure metal made by people who obviously love what they're doing, and don't take themselves too seriously. Metal could use more of that, especially when it's as catchy as this.
The Verdict: Exhumed are just doing what they do, and they don't care what anyone else is doing.
originally written for http://fullmetalattorney.blogspot.com/
I remember almost exactly when my preoccupation with gore started. I can’t remember how old I was (I do know I was quite young), but I definitely remember the circumstances. I was over at my next door neighbor’s house and they just so happened to have a VHS of George A. Romero’s Night of the Living Dead. We must have watched that movie a thousand times. We were completely obsessed with it. I remember running around outside yelling “They’re coming to get you, Barbara!”. I also remember going to the local graveyard and being disappointed to not see even a single flesh-eating ghoul lumbering around.
As I got older, the obsession continued and intensified, ultimately leading me to much more repulsive films, comic books and finally to death metal. As I’ve previously documented, I didn’t care for death metal when I first heard it. But then one day, something clicked. I realized that death metal was the musical equivalent of the all the horror movies and comics I’d freaked out over in my youth, and after that there was no turning back.
Why am I bringing this up? Because no death metal band today exudes those putrid ethos that remind me of the fun of my gore-drenched upbringing more than Exhumed. After a self-imposed eight year silence between full lengths (six if you count the all-covers Garbage Daze Re-Regurgitated) the band is back with All Guts, No Glory, a viciously executed slab of sickness that finds the California quartet doing what they do best; gore, gore and more gore. By backing off the musical and conceptual complexity of 2003′s Anatomy is Destiny in favor of a more refined and catchy approach, they have crafted what is easily their finest album to date.
Of course, a host of bands with more disgusting cover art and more offensive album/song titles have sprung up in Exhumed’s absence, but there is one very important thing separating them from the average Sevared Records band (for instance), and quite frankly, that thing is talent. Exhumed knows how to write brutal yet classy songs that will stick in your head like a surgical saw to the cerebral cortex, the metallic equivalent of a Romero or Fulci film, making the competition look like the direct-to-DVD hacks of death metal.
Taking elements of death metal, grindcore and thrash and tossing them in a vat of musical quicklime, Exhumed goes straight for the jugular with cuts like “As Hammer to Anvil” “Through Cadaver Eyes” and “Necrotized”. It’s frightfully awesome stuff, steeped in pitch-black black humor and backed up with some serious chops. Speaking of chops, the guitar-work of Matt Harvey and Wes Caley (ex-Fatalist, Uphill Battle) is the album’s highlight, a grisly mixture of eviscerating razor-riffage and frenzied soloing that puts the guts in All Guts, No Glory. Exhumed’s rhythm section are no slouches either and as expected, the playing of bassist Leon del Muerte and drummer Danny Walker (also of Intronaut) is as tight as a canister of 2-4-5 Trioxin, infusing the songs with the necessary speed and precision.
As crushing and brutal as All Guts, No Glory is, there is also an infectious sense of fun that permeates the recording. It gives me the same feelings I felt watching that first zombie chase Judith O’Dea through the cemetery, that feeling of adrenaline and giddiness and terror all rolled into one. The zombified band photo gracing the cover is telling; I have a hunch that Exhumed are a group of guys that love this shit as much as I do. So, if you’re like me and looking for the perfect soundtrack to your gore obsession, look no further, because Exhumed are back from the dead and ready to party.
originally written for http://thatshowkidsdie.com
American death metallers Exhumed have never been a band fussed about providing the fastest or most extreme records and have instead focused over their lengthy career now spanning 5 records over 20 years on spinning yarns of Carcass-influenced and melodically infused gore-themed metal. Given I have introduced in this manner clearly such is the case with "All Guts, No Glory" where from first track proper "As Hammer To Anvil" through to closer "Funereality" there is no let-up in the band's multi-vocalled attack, where in the true Carcass mould we get the consistent delight of dual high and low vocals of Matt Harvey and a tempo that could be pretty well summed up as 'fast'.
Following the self-titled 2 minute introduction piece the 10 subsequent tracks are all of a similar standard and 3-4 minute length, the likes of "As Hammer To Anvil", "I Rot Within" and "Dis-assembly Line" being the definition of the Exhumed sound with easily approachable (by DM standards) song structures, hammering drums, clear soloing all wrapped in the perfectly clear yet biting production required for a sound like this. In "Your Funeral, My Feast" and "Necrotized" the Carcass influence in the band's soloing is hugely apparent yet considerably well done to allow these Californian's CHECK to get away with their obvious stylistic influences.
In one of those rare instances there are no plainly weak tracks at all to be found here, "Through Cadaver Eyes", "Death Knell" and "Sound The Charge" besides the aforementioned all being absolutely listenable to any seasoned death metaller like myself, but the magic spark to bring these songs, and the album as a whole, has not yet been found after many listens the past couple of months. Exhumed's latest attempt is a definite pleaser to fans of old school orientated death metal without plumbing the depths of aural depravity most of that ilk choose to take, but as a release "All Guts, No Glory" is full of clean, incisive flesh wounds but the killer mortal blow has not quite been served.
Originally written for www.Rockfreaks.net
After an extended hiatus, everyone's favorite Californian Carcass-worshipping death metal band has returned with one hell of an album: "All Guts, No Glory." In every way, Matt Harvey & Co. have, once again, outdone themselves on this release, and I would venture out on a limb to say that this is the metal album of the year so far. So if you like your metal gory, pulverizing, and sprinkled with memorable melodies, read on.
What Exhumed has accomplished is a complete and natural melding of two past albums with very different sounds: "Slaughtercult" and "Anatomy is Destiny." On this release, they manage to tap into the aggressive, relentless transitional death/grind of "Slaughtercult" while adding the nuanced and mature arrangements (especially in the soloing and production) of "Anatomy is Destiny." The result is nothing less than spectacular. Every member of this album's lineup is on point musically. The songwriting is immense, and every track has an aggressive, breakneck edge with precision drumming and flawless instrumentation.
"All Guts, No Glory" should instantly appeal to any fan of latter-day Carcass (Pre-"Swansong"). The influence of "Necroticism" and "Heartwork" on this album is undeniable. The solos absolutely ooze with Amott-era melody and harmony, and each one is memorable in its own right. To me, the leads are the highlight of all the songs. A few are so good, I find myself hitting the seek button to hear them again and again. And as a bonus, you get something from this band that Carcass never really did. Exhumed mixes the guttural/high-pitched vocal trade-offs of earlier Carcass releases with the melodic death/grind sensibilities of "Necroticism" and "Heartwork". The effect is mind-blowing. However, the arrangements and flourishes that make this album unique are 100% Exhumed. This band, in my opinion, has never been a shameless Carcass "clone" (like The County Medical Examiners, for example). They pay homage to one of metal's most influential bands without bald faced plagiarism. For example, "Distorted and Twisted to Form" -- with its driving d-beat and rumbling groove, is more reminiscent of early Dismember than any aforementioned UK grind act. The sound here is truly unique, and wholly relevant: a kick in the ass for modern death metal and goregrind.
In short, this is an essential purchase for any fan of death metal or melodic grind. It is a flawless album. Although I still think "Anatomy is Destiny" is the band's high point, "All Guts, No Glory" rates a very close second. This belongs in any splatterhead's CD collection. A must-own release for the year 2011.
Standout Tracks Include: As Hammer to Anvil, Through Cadaver Eyes, Distorted and Twisted to Form, I Rot Within
Recommended for Fans of: Carcass, General Surgery, Impaled, Dismember, Grave, Haemorrhage, The County Medical Examiners (I could go on, but frankly, if you like death metal in any form, this album is worth your time!)
I cannot express in words how stoked I was when I listened to this album. Exhumed was one of the very first death metal bands that I got started on, and their debut album Gore Metal holds a place in my heart worthy of worship. I love all of Exhumed's work, but I found that I couldn't enjoy any of their later material as much as I enjoyed Gore Metal. That is until I gave All Guts, No Glory a listen.
The opening title track has that signature raw goregrind sound that Exhumed developed in the late 90's that just makes you want to THRASH! And they top it off with some sick ass Kerry King style squealies using the floyd rose. It sounds like something you'd hear off of Gore Metal, but there are elements of Carcass-like melody in many riffs and solos throughout the album. Tracks like "Distorted and Twisted to Form" and "Necrotized," are songs that no old school Exhumed fan can deny. Other tracks that would remind one of Carcass' more melodic material are "Through Cadaver Eyes" and "Dis-assembly Line."
Exhumed perfectly combined their raw goregrind thrashy sound with melodic influences from Necroticism without over doing it or seeming un-creative with the guitar work, which I feel they did on Anatomy Is Destiny and Slaughtercult. They're still the same sick geniuses they've always been, conjuring up amazing song titles such as "So Let It Be Rotten... So Let It Be Done..." which is my personal favorite. This album is amazing, and should be appreciated by any old school Exhumed fan. I know I'm in love with it, and I feel that any other Gore Metal fan will feel the same way.
Californian cannibals Exhumed have spent the latter half of the past decade sequestering themselves into their other projects, getting in touch with their feelings, touching and maiming themselves, or whatever other activities occupy the deathgrinder's downtime. Only a handful of split appearances have arrived in the meantime, but at last they've returned to Relapse and the aural slaughterhouse that transformed them into a nation spanning, touring troupe of psychos. Yes, All Guts, No Glory returns more to the hybrid of death, grind and thrash that characterized their rise to prominence in the late 90s: born more of Slaughtercult than Anatomy is Destiny, but instantly familiar to anyone seeking a pre-Swansong Carcass clone who do an admittedly knockout job within the medium.
The trademarks remain: a focus on catchy and intense riffing with a subtext of barbaric thrash interspersed with clinical, creepy melodies, and the mix of snarled and guttural vocals that catapulted Symphonies of Sickness and Necroticism into the vegan trauma ward. Exhumed do not spend all their time aping the British pioneers, of course, and they pull in several influences to once again deliver the goods. This is the first album of originals featuring the two newer members (drummer Danny Walker and guitarist Wes Caley), but they're integration into this grisly autopsy is seamless, and you'll hardly notice a difference between this and Gore Metal save for the slight emphasis on thrashing elements over grinding foundations. I was actually not so thrilled by the preview track "As Hammer to Anvil", but the rest of the record more than compensates, with standouts like the early-Pestilence meets Necroticism duo of "Through Cadaver Eyes" and "Death Knell", the eerily melodic battering ram of "Dis-assembly Line", or the enthusiastic Carcass chaos of "Necrotized".
Not all that glitters is viscera, and a number of the songs do stagnate thanks to a handful of less inspiring filler riffs (for example, "As Hammer to Anvil" has about one worthwhile guitar line). The leads are in general sweet, though, incorporating a canny throwback to traditional metal or melodic death solos, not unlike their previous album, Anatomy is Destiny. This is ultimately a more propulsive and less pensive entity than that, with a rich and punchy guitar tone that deftly delivers the aggression without overbearing the ear, the surgical melodies cutting across the rhythm section with a practiced savagery. It's neither as freshly gutted nor as good as the band's 2000 summit Slaughtercult, an album I personally venerate as the best Carcass tribute in my collection, but it follows pretty closely in those same bloodied footprints, and a ghastly good time if you're willing to look past several of the more mediocre riffs dispersed among the tracks.