You’d think after 32 years that Exhumed would have run out of steam, or macabre shit to write about. But not a chance, as the Californian gore-soaked legends are back with their tenth full-length record, To the Dead. Their 2011 comeback record, All Guts No Glory, was way better than I think any of us expected, and it has been a fun journey seeing how one of the formative goregrind outfits have evolved over time. To the Dead is out now through Relapse Records.
Opener Putrescine And Cadaverine strikes you immediately with blood-soaked fury; scabrous riffs sawing through your bones as gurgling vocals belch unspeakable monstrosities over a battery of frenzied grinding guitar. Bands that have nothing to prove often unwittingly demonstrate that immediately, and Exhumed are no exception.
Drained Of Color is a chunky, bulldozing Bolt Thrower tribute if ever there was one, mixed with a bit of Carcass too. Carcass looms large over the rabid Carbonized as well, but as peers as much as influencers. Ironically, Exhumed seem to have taken a similar route to their Liverpudlian overlords by moving out from the goregrind shadows into something much more dynamic and accessible.
To The Dead is another prime example of the old dogs knowing all the tricks to instinctively create something instantly gratifying…
To The Dead isn’t really new ground so much as a bloody, mangled celebration of everything that ‘gore metal’ stands for in 2022. Lurid is a chuggy Swedeath rager, while Defecated cranks up the grinding carnage to the maximum, but it’s tracks like Necrotica with its magnificent solo and melodic riffs towards the end that reminds you there’s a reason that Exhumed are still here and still churning out top quality records.
Sure, you could argue that none of this is particularly original but then again neither were most Motörhead records and they all pretty much ruled so that’s an overrated concept. The band have brought in former members to write songs for this record which I like, as it gives the whole thing a real legacy vibe. No Headstone Unturned is a brilliant song name as well.
Exhumed are a band who, in my own opinion, have really come into their own as a more death metal/grindcore band rather than their formative goregrind days. Their position as legends in that genre is unassailable, but their gradual shift to something a little less gurgly has really given them rotten new life. To The Dead is another prime example of the old dogs knowing all the tricks to instinctively create something instantly gratifying. Exhumed are still fucking great, and that’s all you need to know.
Scribed by: Sandy Williamson