Exhumed – Necrocracy (Relapse)

Laying down the gore
Release Date: 
5 Aug 2013 (All day)

I can only imagine how sick Matt Harvey and his merry band of grinders must be of being compared to Carcass. But there’s no getting around it. If you love Carcass (particularly the pre-Heartwork material), you’ll love Exhumed.

Don’t get me wrong, Exhumed have over two decades of gruesome grinding under the belts and in that time have forged their own distinctive style —most notable is the duel-vocal interplay, guttural growls and rasping yells intertwining in a fashion utterly unbeaten by any modern metal band that springs to mind. And after a 7-year gap between the release of their previous high-water mark, Anatomy is Destiny, and 2010’s comeback album All Guts No Glory, the band’s reputation is solidly cemented as a top-tier practitioner of the necrotic arts. But there’s no denying that they’re cut from the Carcass cloth (or should that be ‘carved from the Carcass corpse’?). The razor sharp guitar tone, the crafty guitar solos, the particular way they compose songs and sew all the gruesome bits together into elegant Frankensteins, even the gory lyrical bent; if anyone ever wants to know what Exhumed sound like, the obvious one-word answer is: Carcass.

With Carcass releasing a new album, Surgical Steel, this year (and the fact that the song available thus far, Captive Bolt Pistol, is actually quite good and not the inevitably legacy-crushing disappointment that the more cynical among us had expected), the competition is tougher than ever.

Necrocracy is more than up for the challenge, sprinting out of the starting gate like one of those frenzied fast zombies from 28 Days Later.  But it’s not all unbridled speed and fury. The songs on Necrocracy are notably longer than on previous albums, contain a lot more variety, and seem more … mature (as mature as a goregrind album can be). The focused songwriting and measured restraint pays off in spades; there’s not a moment that doesn’t impel you to snap your neck, with each track having a strong sense of purpose, direction and movement. When guitar solo hits with a barrage of notes before climaxing with the inevitable WEEEEeeeeeeeooooooooooOOOO noises, you can be guaranteed that I’ll be jumping up and down with a tennis racket in my hands and a gigantic grin plastered across my face.

With Exhumed laying down the gore like this, Carcass has an almost impossibly high standard to live up to.