Splits are strange things, I’ve never been one to be particularly drawn to them unless I’m being a completist of a band’s discography, and even then I seldom listen to them. I do kind of think that there is an element of collectability around these releases, a sort of ‘for hardcore fans only’ mentality. This is of course a good concept as it’s always nice to be given little extras like this when you’re a big fan of a band. Still my views are likely flawed and I’m sure many of you don’t care a jot what I think, so onward we go.
The split for today is from two of Death Metal’s iconic underground figureheads the Grind infused hell of Exhumed and the Death worship of Gruesome. These two titans come together under one banner of gore in the 2020 split Twisted Horror. The record is put out through none other than Relapse Records a sure-fire sign of quality. This combined with the strengths of both bands recent outputs is an indicator of success, so without further ado let’s enter the crypts.
First to the stage is Exhumed who open the split with Rot Your Brain, fast, spewing and vile the track is laden with memorability and anthemic Death Metal disgust. A truly epic opening that is sure to please any fan new or old. Buried To Die is a similar tale of putrid filth, quick and barbaric and oddly Punk tinged, to me this is what Exhumed are all about. The bands final track on the split is Dead, Deader, Deadest, which shows that Punk mentality again and Carcass style ferocity, a truly awesome song.
Gruesome typically find their Death influenced roots in A Mind Decayed which seems to be harking back to the earlier more Thrash laden days of Death, a nice touch. I can’t say that I’m as big a fan of this side of the split as Exhumed’s but then that’s just my personal taste. This is still pretty epic and a winner for any fan of OSDM. The final track of this split comes in the form of Led Into The Dark, less exciting than its predecessor and probably the splits weakest track overall. By no means do I dislike Gruesome but I don’t think these songs are their strongest by a long shot.
So you’ve heard of Exhumed and Gruesome but you’ve not got a lot of time on your hands. Pick up Twisted Horror, it’ll certainly give you a bloodlust for each band and their overall sound. I’d perhaps suggest not relying too much on the Gruesome tracks as stand out moments, an album experience is far better for them. Yet Exhumed really come across well here and truly take their crown as underground kings.
(8/10 George Caley)