I may have spoken about this before but the one thing that first drew me towards Death Metal was Horror. Ever since I was a child I’ve been obsessed with the dark and macabre, hence why I turned out the way I did. I remember being a child and my dad covering my eyes during the infamous Chestburster scene in Alien, but I could still see through his fingers and wow was I taken aback. I think it is from that moment on that I learnt to love the art in gore. I went straight into the world of Punk and Metal and from there I was pretty much destined to become a Death Metal and Horror lifer.
Practitioners of the blood drenched themselves are the undeniably classic Californian Deathgrinders Exhumed. Formed way back in 1990 the band are not only classic for their output but legendary, pioneers if you will. The bands eventual debut Gore Metal from 1998 sealing the bands place in Death Metal history. Not to mention the following Slaughtercult and Anatomy Is Destiny. To be fair their discography has been strong, save for perhaps 2017’s Death Revenge for which I wasn’t all that much of a fan. Now it’s time for something new, something new with an old feel that is, the aptly titled Horror becomes the bands ninth full length (including the Gore Metal re-record). It’s put out by the ever-reliable Relapse Records too, which is generally a good sign, but then again we shall see.
Unsound crashes in with sonic torment and ultimate Deathgrind speed, force and ferocity. A real harking back to the band’s earlier days with its gritty production, Goregrind tinged vocals and maniacal drums and guitars. This is the sort of music that has you ironically shouting ‘faster!’ at live shows and leaves you totally desecrated and feeling zombified. Longer songs aside (and by long I still mean under three minutes) I’m a big fan of the seven second Utter Mutilation Of Your Corpse, it’s nice to see the band doing silly stuff like this and really gives the album that added Grind boost. The track which follows, Slaughter Manic is equally a thundering Deathgrind banger full of hooks, gutturals, shrieks and pure old school Exhumed flare.
I really love the fact that there is no time wasted throughout this album, it’s like a big statement. It calls itself something so simple in the title Horror and then just goes forth to spread its filthy Gore Metal hailing perversions, could this be the bands best record since Slaughtercult or Anatomy Is Destiny? Naked, Screaming, And Covered In Blood would certainly suggest so, as perhaps the best track on the record it not only holds fast to the Gore Metal days but also excites the listener with Gorerotted style delivery and Thrashing Horror infused Metal pace. The pace never falters either going through into In The Mouth Of Hell and finally closing with Re-Animated, indeed a track so well linked to its name, a true return from the grave.
If like me you had your doubts about the last Exhumed record then fear not. Horror isn’t just a return to form it’s a return to the glory days of Exhumed’s inception. This is pure unadulterated Deathgrind torn straight from the genres beginnings. All tied together with some strong production and absolutely no frills. It might be less than thirty minutes long but that’s all you need, it melts you away and leaves you with fifteen new bangers that are amongst some of the bands very best work. In a world littered with Deathcore bands Exhumed prove that the old school will always rule!
(8/10 George Caley)