Exhumed, Gruesome mash own brands of violence on bloody split crusher ‘Twisted Horror’

I’m a big fan of the split release, which should be obvious to anyone who reads this site with any regularity. Typically, they’re a great way to get a quick taste of two or more bands to see if you want to dive deeper into their catalogs. Or they’re nice appetizers of bands you’re already are into.

“Twisted Horror” is a five-track offering that’s a little different than most in that it’s wall to wall Matt Harvey as his long-running horror grind band Exhumed and Death-inspired juggernaut Gruesome share this thing, so it’s best of both worlds if you’re one of his many zealous followers. Exhumed—rounded out by bassist/vocalist Ross Sewage, guitarist Sebastian Phillips, and drummer Mike Hamilton—deliver three crushers here that have the taste and feel of their most recent LP “Horror” though they’re a little lengthier than what’s on that album. As for Gruesome—also includes guitarist Daniel Gonzalez, bassist Robin Mazen, and drummer Gus Rios—their channeled death metal sounds brutal and razor sharp, a nice blast of two tracks that are their first since 2018’s “Twisted Prayers.”

Exhumed photo by by Orion Landau

The Exhumed portion opens as “Rot Your Brain” has huge riffs attacking and leaving instant blood spatter as Harvey and Sewage tangle vocally, their shriek/growl combo sickening. Scathing, mashing death is afoot as the soloing blares and burns flesh before raspy vocals punch back in, and everything comes to a mashing finish. “Buried to Die” erupts as deep growls lurch, and the band issues complete demolition. The soloing rips hard, while Hamilton’s drumming destroys the earth beneath it, and another blast through the chorus takes the track to its end. “Dead, Deader, Deadest” is the final Exhumed cut, and guitars are unleashed and allowed to run rampant. Again, the shrieks and growls trade off like ghouls arguing as the band drums up a murderous pace. The chorus is a simple but deadly recitation of the title, while the track barnstorms to its final resting place.

Gruesome photo by Ryan Tamm

“A Mind Decayed” starts the Gruesome set, and right away there is a marked change in tone from the Exhumed selections. Guitars charge up while Harvey’s scathing voice powers the track as things pick up speed dangerously. The track shifts to a different pace as weird soloing zaps out of it like an alien attack before the vocals return to drill more holes. Drums mash, the band goes for broke, and the track ends in a flaming pile of ash. “Led Into the Dark” is their closer and thrashes hard, with double kick drums penetrating your skull. Guitars take over as the band achieves a classic death metal vibe, and then the playing explodes. Growls scrape as the pace sludges away, with the band landing final body shots right up to the end.

This is a pretty fun collection from two bands that are the brainchildren of Harvey, and while they might not sound too much alike, they do revel in the same levels of horror. Distractions from life’s realities are very much welcome these days, and the music from Exhumed and Gruesome are ideal for getting you lost in something else. Or for just warping your brain for 20 minutes.

For more on Exhumed, go here: https://www.facebook.com/ExhumedOfficial/

For more on Gruesome, go here: https://www.facebook.com/gruesomedeathmetal

To buy the album, go here: https://store.relapse.com/

For more on the label, go here: https://www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords

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