Some seventeen years after pillaging the grave of Carcass-worshiping death metal, Exhumed have returned to the studio to re-record this, their debut record. I’m not sure why, sounded ok the first time round, but also why not?
I first heard “Open the Abcess” on the “Contaminated” series of compilations that Relapse would put out and were a great ear-opener to the quality of bands that they were peddling, and have been for the 25 years that they celebrate the anniversary of this year. Exhumed were a glorious and furious celebration of blistering gore-grind death metal that definitely invoked heady (corpse-fume sniffing) days of a decade earlier again when I was in my teenage years diving of stages at Wrexham Memorial Hall.
It’s worth noting in this chronology that their acknowledged stylistic tribute to the seminal Scousers came after that band were already demised, and this being after they had already descended into a pretty turgid, tired, rocky version of their former selves. So hearing the likes of these, Impaled & General Surgery celebrate the glory, gory days of their earlier releases and deliver the feral and raw Symphonies, distorted rather than polished, was a pleasure felt deep in the spilled guts.
Exhumed have evolved themselves over this time, definitely becoming a more refined article even if remaining unquestionably extreme, but while there may be an element of tightness in the playing I don’t see this as being drastically different to the original version. Satisfying bottom end rumble on the production but still pretty clear cut. Buzzsaw guitars (mixed with a genuine saw at one point?!?) and battering drums, beautiful distorted bass drops. Hectic pace to the riffing and brief breaks before launching again into the controlled chaos, solos may also have benefited from a little more surgical precision and experience over the years.
The dual shrieked and guttural vocals slightly more consistent and probably with a touch more power. Fine tuning, perhaps like makeup on a corpse, might at least make you take the opportunity to look/listen to it afresh but death is as death does, if you like it, you like it. Sniff it out.
REVIEW BY: Mark
Find out more at ALLHEAVYMETAL.NET