Exhumed – Necrocracy | Review

Who would have thought that an eight year break from recording new material, which ended in 2011 with the release of the scathing ‘All Guts, No Glory’, would have been the best move Exhumed ever made? The lengthy lapse in time resulted in Exhumed hitting the nail on the gore-sodden head with ‘All Guts, No Glory’ in terms of song-writing, while staying true to death metal’s barbaric tenets. By capitalising on the acclaim and momentum of ‘All Guts, No Glory’, Exhumed have now readied another collection of choice cuts for your delectation in the form of their latest studio album, ‘Necrocracy’.

Besides focusing intently on suturing together sickening, mid-paced grooves as well as, lyrically, taking a noticeable political slant (don’t worry the band hasn’t turned its back on the gore to become Misery Index), ‘Necrocracy’ isn’t a cadaver’s throw away from its predecessor—which is nothing if not a huge positive. The sagacious tempo changes (led by d-beats and a variety of blasts), scalding riffs and solos, gut-puncturing growls and shrieks with enough character and range to actually entertain the amount of hooks sprayed around like blood from a severed aorta, have all returned more memorable than ever before. The Carcass-esque "Coins Upon the Eyes" is straight up fun—well as fun as death metal gets—with the chants of “Die!” sounding exultant and not corny; the vocal hooks of "The Shape of Deaths to Come" and "Necrocracy" are just as effective as the gruesome bass-lines and riffs that cut right through them; and each guitar solo contains equal parts surgical precision and flair—especially those of "The Rotting”. "Sickening”, on the other hand, is literally a blast from the past with its fast paced grind, while "Dysmorphic" just so happens to be one of the best songs Exhumed have ever vomited upon us: Its deathly thrash attack and vocal trade-offs leading to a surprising acoustic guitar break before a serrated riff, intent on taking the head clean off your shoulders, appears out of the blue.

The production clarity on ‘All Guts, No Glory’ and now ‘Necrocracy’ has really benefited Exhumed by allowing the band’s song-writing skills to shine through. But the thing with Exhumed is that, even back in the band’s ‘Gore Metal’ days the same traits were at play only they came smothered in coagulated claret. ‘Necrocracy’ is as clear as you can get in death metal without sounding sterile, and the audible thump suits the band’s increasingly catchy songs. From the blasting beginnings of "Coins Upon the Eyes" to the rampaging finish of "The Rotting", Exhumed have written a record that will undoubtedly satisfy those that still believe actual song-writing in contemporary death metal is a forgotten art (And there are plenty of reasons to believe this). Twenty years on, Exhumed’s slaughtercult continues to grow. This time, however, we all fall under necrocratic rule!

Dean Brown

Band info: www.facebook.com/ExhumedOfficial
Label info: www.relapse.com

Dean Brown is a metal scribe based in Ireland. He is currently a contributing editor to the North American cultural magazine Popmatters and he regularly throws words for a number of other reputable loud noise publications such as About.com/heavy metal, Soundshock.com, MetalIreland.com, MoltenMagazine.com, amongst others. He has a strong affinity for music that shakes souls and leaves debilitating tinnitus in its wake and such obsession has left him financially and medically crippled, but he wouldn’t have it any other way. Follow Dean on twitter @reus85