CD Review: Exhumed – Necrocracy

CD Review: Exhumed – Necrocracy
Relapse Records
All Access Rating: A-

Exhumed - Necrocracy 2013
For those about to die in the most gruesome, horrific ways imaginable, Exhumed salutes you. As gory as the busiest of abattoirs, records from these grisly Bay Area grindcore ghouls take a backseat to no one when it comes to painting revolting scenes of blood-splattered, dismembered corpses and how they got that way.

The sicker the better for guitarist/vocalist Matt Harvey, the lone original member of Exhumed left standing after more than 20 years of lineup instability, and he appreciates the sacrifice of those who have shuffled off this mortal coil in shockingly violent fashion. For without them, he’d have nothing to sing about – well, except politics, that is. And relationships, societal decay and economic distress … see there’s more going on with Exhumed than meets the eye. Take Necrocracy, Exhumed’s upcoming release for Relapse Records, for example.

Decomposing flesh and maimed bodies make for not-so-subtle metaphors of a bloated U.S. political system being drawn and quartered by corruption, greed and the erosion of civil rights in the punishingly heavy, high-velocity death-metal of “The Rotting,” the title track and “Carrion Call.” Or maybe Exhumed just enjoys a good lyrical blood feast now and then.

Whatever the case, Necrocracy – due out in August – also happens to contain some of the meatiest riffage of Exhumed’s tortured lifespan. Mauling, churning guitars, back-breaking tempo changes, frenzied blast beats and cave-deep growls and feral screeching reanimate an Exhumed that still looks to traditional thrash and death-metal misanthropes like Carcass and Entombed as mentors of death-metal mayhem. Thatching together a multi-layered bulletproof vest of overlapping, ever-evolving guitar parts and low-slung bass rumbling, Exhumed mines an infectious, visceral groove in “Coins upon the Eyes” that’s resistant to antibiotics, while “Dysmorphic” grinds flesh, tendons and bones into hamburger with flesh-tearing hooks of great tensile strength, unstoppable momentum and searing guitar leads – all of it bridged briefly with a rickety acoustic passage of evil that portends doom.

There is melody to be found in the surprisingly well-sculpted twin-guitar figures planted throughout Necrocracy and the rare progressive passages unearthed in “Sickened,” but there’s gold to be discovered in the mountains of furious, doom-laden riffs on Necrocracy, not to mention the demented, contorted dynamics that twist the dizzying “The Shapes of Deaths to Come” and “(So Passes) the Glory of Death” into impossible metal yoga positions.

Not addicted to speed anymore, Exhumed takes obscene pleasure in witnessing the trudging, writhing agony of their complex instrumental movements, but when the time is right to go on a murderous sonic rampage, they never hesitate. Necrocracy is a pit of sinister, angry pythons slithering all over each other and ready to squeeze the life out of anything that engages it. It goes down a maze of dark scary alleys that reek of death, and it runs with the bulls, almost hoping to get gored. Though they add demonic texture at times, the terrifying vocals can be a little much, as are the excessive and sometimes gratuitous lyrical autopsies performed here. Dig past that, and Necrocracy rewards bravery and a strong stomach.
– Peter Lindblad

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