Considering the pressure in which most of us live and the pressure cooker that is societal strife, it only makes sense to have something in which to get lost when it all seems to be too much. And sometimes that escape hatch is filled with blood, innards, and various other horrors that lets us slip into terrifying madness that can help us smile through the perversity.
For the past 32 years, Exhumed have compiled an impressive resume of gore-soaked death metal and grindcore, some of the most disgusting and foul materials we have on record. We now have “To the Dead,” the band’s ninth album, ready to drop, and it’s another devastating, rowdy affair that grinds your flesh and bones in an unforgiving manner. The band—guitarist/vocalist Matt Harvey, bassist/vocalist Ross Sewage, guitarist Sebastian Phillips, drummer Mike Hamilton—worked with an expanded group of Exhumed past and present, bringing back Mike Beams, Leon del Muerte, Matt Widener, and Bud Burke into the writing group to celebrate what everyone has accomplished the past three decades. This is 40 minutes of carnage that is bloody and fun, helping you forget your misery while you drown in guts.
“Putrescine and Cadaverine” completely unloads, setting the tone for the record and delivering blinding violence. The growl/shriek dynamic that Harvey and Sewage use to pit the madness against each other torments and devastates, thrashy hell is unleashed, and the dueling soloing makes your brain ache. “Drained of Color” mashes and unloads, the growl engorging, the shrieks testing your psyche. “Bled dry of vim and vigor, drained of color, coursing like a viscous river, ghastly pallor,” is howled over the chorus, a deadly push-pull between both voices as relentless power continues to dent skulls, ending with a smoking pile of ash. “Carbonized” launches and goes right for your neck with smeared howls and a thunderous pace as speed absolutely kills. A huge metallic gust blows you back as the soloing blares, blood spatters, and the violent promises made on this beast finally pay off. “Rank and Defiled” brings challenging death that mangle bodies, dual vocals choking the life out of you, the chorus rumbling over twisted flesh as Harvey and Sewage tag team howl, “Rank and defiled, out of your skull with our vitreous bile, rank and defiled, a danse macabre circling round a turnstile.” “Lurid, Shocking, and Vile” trucks, grinds, and mauls, opening up vicious combustion that puts you as maximum risk. Guitars go off as the tempo strangles, crazed howls kill, and the ends comes speedily and shockingly.
“Undertaking the Overkilled” attacks with the growls and shrieks rambling downhill, crumbling the earth as the guitars singe flesh. The playing flexes its muscles, destroying everything on front of it with a mission of chaos and blood that ends in disorientation. “Necrotica” is animalistic, devastating, and simmering in agony, eventually leaving into vintage thrash territory. “Necrotica, abased by your rancid juice, cleansed in your mephitic sluice,” is … gross, but we expect and demand that here, and then the guitars take control and rampage into your skeletal structure, eventually slowing and melting away. “No Headstone Unturned” blasts and launches a sickening pace that shakes you until piss runs down your leg. Menacing dual vocals rupture, fluid soloing makes the sweat on your face glisten, and a deathly surge late lands blows that leave bruises and pooled blood. “Defecated” is a molten, crunching assault that gets things moving in a hurry, the chorus effective and agonizing in its simplicity. Growls lurch as the soloing blinds with intensity, a strange atmospheric surge cocks heads, and everything comes to a vicious end. Closer “Disgusted” stabs its way in, completely decimating its victims, punishing with relentless madness. “Disgusted! Engulfed in the unclean! Disgusted! Inundated by thoughts obscene,” rips over the chorus as a thrashy shift compromises your balance, morbid soloing comes unglued, and the record ends in a relentless, unforgiving assault.
It’s perfect we have a new platter from Exhumed as Halloween nears and we are bathing in visions of blood, slashing, and decapitation. “To the Dead” is destructive, often morbidly humorous, and a vicious death metal attack that sticks to your bones, at least the ones not broken and dripping marrow. If there’s ever a world where Exhumed’s insanity is unwelcome and not consumed hungrily, I’d officially like to opt out of that.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/ExhumedOfficial/
To buy the album, go here: https://store.relapse.com/exhumed-to-the-dead
For more on the label, go here: https://www.facebook.com/RelapseRecords