Matt Harvey seemed full of energy when I saw Exhumed on tour with Carcass. Having Exhumed warm up the grinding gear for Carcass made complete sense, of course, as both bands are quite close on the long and complicated diagram that makes up death metal's nuclear family-the uncle and the nephew, playing catch on a gor(y)geous summer day. It almost bothers me to see Exhumed constantly labeled torchbearers of the Carcass sound(s), because Exhumed has proven its worth as a death metal juggernaut. None of their records are remotely bad, their style of death metal/grind never cuts corners, and there is a light-hearted humor among the ghastly themes and goings-on of the abattoir à la Bruce Campbell fighting his severed hand in Evil Dead 2. Disliking any facet of the band is pretty much out of question.
"Necrocracy" seems to have been slapped with the 'maturity' tag, or called by some-much to my disdain-the band's "Heartwork." These songs are a bit longer and more developed than slaughterhouse classics like "Limb from Limb," sure. And yeah, there is certainly a melodic component here that is more animated than ever. But let's not go overboard; the things that made Exhumed a bloody good time have not gone anywhere. The Carcass-esque riffing paying homage to "Necroticism" (yeah, I know) and the squad's bobbing between turbo-charged, blast-laden sections and crushing medial-paced patterns aren't pulling any zombie rabbits out of Harvey's hat, so to speak. The melodic bits come as a bit of a shock, yet they are organically placed between Exhumed's traditionalized parts; quite enriching among the carnage, really.
The minor changes within the creative element are more of a sickening metamorphosis than progression, deforming the beast that much more. "Necrocracy" caters mostly to the energy and expertise of the band while presenting memorable, authentic slabs of death metal with no shortage of striking riffs or intricate situations. I enjoy the devastating mid-paced bridge in "Carrion Call" the most, but none of these tunes fall short. "Coins upon the Eyes" and "Sickened" are the usual Exhumed outputs in quality, brought under an updated light in 2014 by increased melodic elements and grotesque hooks (every abattoir needs them, you know). The dueling vocalist situation involving Harvey's barks and guttural vocals is surprisingly decent; I'm usually not too big on it, but the overlaps and tradeoffs have a delightful impact.
Perhaps the most accessible record done under the Exhumed banner, "Necrocracy" leaves little left to the imagination. Nine ravaging, gore-smeared tunes of melodically-tinted death metal is the name of the game throughout "Necrocracy," and certainly no secret is left unshared by the end of its forty-minute run. However, there is a likeable refinement among Exhumed's go-for-the-throat mentality that has never led the group astray. Harvey still has the riffs to break necks and the songwriting skills to retain stylistic freshness despite refusing to clean his killing floor after accumulating countless limbs over the past twenty-five years. There is no reason for seasoned death metal veterans to turn away from Exhumed, a group that is somehow still underrated, and that just does not fly anymore.
Get the album here.
Exhumed - Necrocracy
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