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A mature and thought-out release for Exhumed. - 88%

MrMetalpants, December 7th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2017, CD, Relapse Records

This is hands-down my favorite Exhumed record. I started following them around when I saw them touring for the album All Guts, No Glory in ~2011. There live show absolutely blew me away so I started going through their discography and was pleased but definitely felt it was a band best listened to live. That changed for me on this release. The first thing that caught me was the album art. Inspired by movie horror movie posters from the 70's/80's. I could see it being a poster for a film by Lucio Fulci, Rugerro Deodato, Mario Bava, or a host of other giallo/early slasher films. There are even instrumental pieces reminiscent of the score to a lot of these style of movies.

It is an odd choice of album cover considering the whole of the lyrical material is about 1800's grave robbers selling and/or "Anatomizing" the dead bodies. When I say the whole of it, I truly mean the whole of it. From start to finish it tells the tale of two twisted youths who learn how to and become attracted to dead bodies and retells how they came to be this way, their various adventures, and great conclusion to their saga. Dare I call this album a death metal opera?! It's storytelling is linked via the narrative (one whole story), similar style of music throughout, symphonic instrumentals, an intermission, and each of the three band members who do vocals, take on the voices of the three different characters. Even regardless of the feat of making such an interesting concept album, they still give their most mature lyrics yet. They started this style on the album Necrocracy but really honed it in here.

The album is the next step in Exhumed's career and I feel in the right way. Like I said, they were very a much a live band in the genre of "goregrind" but here are leaning towards straight-up death metal. I'm sure they lost a lot of fans with that, but they made me respect them that much more. There are elements of it, like the structure on "Unspeakable". The song "Night Work" leans on Slayer for some influence there. They even end up with a sound not unlike The Black Dahlia Murder with "Incarnadined Hands". That song sits on the border of melodic death metal. The bass is absolutely wonderful here. It's not the most technically impressive but so often does it get to rattle it's way into your ear over the guitars. A great example of this is at around 2:00 on "Lifeless".

Favorite tracks:
--Incarnidined Hands
--Defenders of the Grave
--Dead End
--A Funeral Party

Technical skill: 69% Originality: 82% Song writing: 89% Album structure: 96% Production: 77%