• Exhumed - Horror (Relapse Records) Album Review

    Exhumed - Horror (Relapse Records) Album Review
    Released by: Relapse Records
    Released on: October 4th, 2019.
    Purchase From Amazon

    Exhumed - made up of Matt Harvey on vocals and guitar, Mike Hamilton on drums, Sebastian Phillips on lead guitar and vocals and the mighty Ross Sewage (who also plays with Ghoul and Impaled) on bass and vocals – have been around for a quarter century at this point. Having made a name for themselves back in the nineties with albums like Gore Metal, they’re back with their latest effort for Relapse Records simply titled Horror. The album was recorded at the band’s home studio in California, produced by the band and Alejandro Corredor, and was mixed and mastered by Joel Grind of Toxic Holocaust fame.

    The two-minute Unsound opens the record, the vocals shrieking through the mix with an appropriately demonic howl before the requisite death metal growl kicks in. It’s fast, it’s ugly and it’s heavier than a ton of bricks. The drums in particular really stand out here, Hamilton is just a beast behind the kit. Necrophilia has never sounded so good.

    Ravenous Cadavers is a two-minute follows suit – it blasts through the speakers as if it were Hell unleashed, appropriately disgusting lyrics grunted out, laying bare the truth about re-animated cannibals and all that we have to fear from them.

    Scream Out in Fright, also clocking in at just under two-minutes, is, lyrically at least, a bit of a slasher film but musically it’s just insanely violent sounding, the dual vocals – the howls versus the guttural grunting – really adds a layer of extra insanity to this one and man oh man, there’s a scream here that is just insanely epic.

    The Red Death is the longest track on the album at just under three-minutes in length. It’s just as diseased sounding as you’d expect, given the subject, but again, the drums are just insane. The lyrics are also pretty insane. The guitar work and bass playing? Also pretty insane. This album isn’t messing around and it doesn’t let up and while this is long by the band’s standards, it doesn’t slow down for even a second.

    Utter Mutilation of Your Corps is a seven-second bit that’s over before you know it, but it leads into the more interesting two-and-a-half-minute Slaughter Maniac, which is a song about someone getting chopped by an axe-wielding lunatic – ‘you’re the victim of his fucking gore attack!’ This one is a pretty stellar death metal/power violence hybrid.

    Ripping Death is eighty-one-seconds of furious noise, a grinding, speeding car wreck of a song with ultra-gory lyrics and a solo from Sebastian that had to have left blisters on the guy’s fingers when it was over. The two-minute Clawing is a track about being buried alive and then eaten by worms and maggots, so it fits right in with the band’s style. Eventually weevils enter the coffin, so bonus points for creativity there. Seriously though, this one slays and the super brief solo from Matt half way through is another exhibit of just how fast and tight this band can get.

    Check out this promo picture that came with the review materials – these guys appear to be drinking micro brews in the horror movie section of Portland, Oregon’s finest rental store, Movie Madness (one of the best Goddamn video stores on the planet).

    Anyway, back to the record. Naked, Screaming, And Covered In Blood is two-and-a-half-minutes long and it’s likewise pretty insane, never lacking in intensity or fury at all. The title says it all, lyrically, and it also makes up the chorus of the song so its repeated quite a bit but again, we get some insanely fast, tight musicianship, another spine-shattering vocal howl and some lightning fast solo work here to keep things interesting.

    Playing With Fear, which is also two-and-a-half-minutes long, is a track about losing your mind and the musical accompaniment to this idea fits well – the track sounds as insane as its subject appears to be going. A hearty grunt gets the track starting before the more staccato vocals kick in, then the dual vocals kick in, and it just layers itself really well. Dead Meat is a thirty-four-second blaster about dying and being turned into pet food.

    Rabid, a two-minute track, is about how gross it would be to get rabies and then get killed by your neighbors. The patented Exhumed sound is here in spades, and if it doesn’t stand out from the other tracks all that much it is, once again, very tight, polished and nasty sounding. In the Mouth of Hell is a ninety-eight-second ditty about going nuts and being locked in an insane asylum wherein Matt and Sebastian both get to solo a bit and the track is all the better for it.

    As we head towards the albums close, we spend seventy-five seconds with Shattered Sanity, another song about losing it albeit one with a slightly Lovecraftian vibe to the lyrics. This one, like all the others, is played brutally fast and with surgical precision. The album’s big finish is the two-minute Re-Animated and, speaking of Lovecraftian influences, it’s about someone trying to re-animate the dead and while Herbert West is never named, nor do the lyrics follow his story specifically, it’s hard not think of Jeffrey Combs when you hear this track. Musically, it’s just as intense and relentless as the rest of the album, and, as such, absolutely worth your time if you’ve got a thing for grindy, thrashy, disgusting death metal.

    Special mention also needs to be made of the awesome cover art from artist Marc Schoenbach, done up as a vintage VHS horror movie rental tape complete with a ‘please be kind & rewind’ sticker in the corner and a UK ‘18’ rating label on the bottom left corner.