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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!)