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Exhumed - Gore Metal: A Necrospective


by Matt Hensch

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The art of rerecording albums is a baffling practice. You'd think after bands like Exodus and Manowar kidnapped their flawless masterpieces and defiled them in unspeakable ways that other groups would, you know, get the picture. Exhumed, the proud American steeds to the royalty of Carcass, decided to rerecord "Gore Metal," their four-star death metal full-length debut, after years of having to deal with what was called dissatisfaction with the final product. Long story short, the dudes in Exhumed thought the original "Gore Metal" sounded like sh*t, so they gave it the rerecording makeover, and that's where "Gore Metal: A Necrospective" comes in. I'm not too fond of this ideology, but Exhumed gives the rerecording art a little bit of justice. It at least makes a nickel of sense giving the filthy, fetid quality of the original "Gore Metal" a restoration after years of accumulating mildew and other delicious treats.

The only major shift from the original "Gore Metal" is its sound quality. "A Necrospective" has the same production and sound balance similar to "Necrocracy" and other Exhumed records touched by a mix of decent quality that doesn't jeopardize the intensity of death metal. Little differences exist in these songs, but you'd have to know "Gore Metal" from bloody head to missing foot to pick them out-the drill sample in "Open the Abscess," for instance, has been amputated. Otherwise, the change in sound quality notwithstanding, "Gore Metal" is still "Gore Metal." It's not like "Limb from Limb" now has a breakdown, and you'll be awfully disappointed if you expect Matt Harvey to stop "Blazing Corpse" and throw down his sick beatboxing skills.

But the remake of "Gore Metal" runs into a familiar problem, one which mostly avoids the slaughterhouse but is often caught poking its head in from the hallway. As much as I hate to say it, the philosophy as to whether this rerecording of "Gore Metal" can even justify its existence ends up getting in the way. Yeah, I know, it's their album and they can do what they want; I'm not saying Exhumed needs to follow orders from a jackass with a keyboard. What I am saying is that there was no huge, lumbering issue weighing down on the original "Gore Metal" to begin with. It was a beast of a record; sounded like ass, but that was part of the fun! I very much enjoy the filthy, incomprehensible grind of the guitar tone hammering over those sloppy drums while the two vocal approaches trade off over Exhumed's wonderful style of Carcass-driven death metal. Flawed and deformed, but in a way that makes me wish the pile of noise would sweep me off my feet and make me its putrid princess.

You see, "Gore Metal" was Exhumed in 1998; this rerecording of "Gore Metal" is Exhumed in 2015, although it was recorded a few years before being released, apparently, but you get the picture. No matter how much better the overall sound is, the new version of Exhumed's admirable debut will not replace the magic of hearing the squalid stuff covering the original. This, of course, might not affect you if you haven't heard "Gore Metal," but for me, with my seasoned ears and raging chubby for classic death metal, it does. Things get a little more redundant after removing the guts of "Gore Metal: A Necrospective" and finding a second disc-a copy of the f***ing original album. I don't know, as much as "Gore Metal: A Necrospective" gets right in honoring its source material, it has little to defend, and even less worth applauding.

Exhumed - Gore Metal: A Necrospective
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