Welcome to The Saw’s Butcher Shop! Your Master Butcher wants to talk about a brand-new release from a FUN band. On October 21, 2022, To the Dead was released by the mighty Exhumed via Relapse Records. Now, what makes Exhumed so much fun is not only their wicked riffs, but also their lyrical content. Exhumed are one of the pioneers of Goregrind. And the band’s long history of blood-soaked albums is evidence that the slaughter is no joke!
Exhumed is a Deathgrind band from San Jose, CA, formed in 1990 by Matt Harvey (vocals, guitars) when he was only 15 years old. For the first decade, Exhumed released many singles and split albums. Most of this time was spent honing their skill and finding their sound. Heavily influenced by Carcass and Entombed, the band was drilling-down to the sound (and lyrics) that they are known for.
Gore Metal, Exhumed’s full length debut album, dropped in 1998 (Relapse). Described by critics as “disgusting,” the album marked a new precedent – in your face, unapologetic, Goregrind/Deathgrind, Death Metal. The record has a poor sound value, but its content is fun! Not “fun,” like the band is just clowning around, wasting time; but, “fun” in the way gore is utilized as a metaphor to describe the horrors of society. The delivery of the material, here, is what set precedent – speed metal (Grind), combined with melodic, catchy hooks marking time changes, with unabashed lyrics delivered by as many has three vocalists.
Exhumed would go on to release, Slaughtercult, the band’s sophomore album, in August of 2000 (Relapse) and Anatomy is Destiny in 2003 (Relapse). The former album was straight to the point, dripping with slime and brutality. The latter record featured more complicated arrangements and production quality, and is considered by many to be Exhumed’s best album to date.
After the release of their third album, Mike Beems (guitar, vocals), Bud Burke (bass, vocals), and Col Jones (co-founder, drums) left Exhumed. Garbage Daze Re-Regurgitated, an obvious play on Metallica’s Garage Days Re-Revisited, dropped in 2005 (Relapse) as a stopgap measure by Harvey. In trying to rebuild the band, Exhumed disappeared for five years.
In 2010, Exhumed’s fifth studio album, All Guts, No Glory was released (Relapse). Necrocracy was released in 2013 (Relapse) with, yet, another line-up change. And in October 2017, Death Revenge was released (Relapse) with, again, new band members, and Harvey.
To the Dead
Five years later (again), we have a crushing new album from Exhumed! And this record is bad ass! I would say it features the best qualities from the storied history of the band’s releases; all the iterations of Exhumed through the decades. The music is a blistering Thrash-based mastery of Grindcore, with smooth tempo changes, terribly wicked riffs, and deafening blast-beats and double-bass. The lyrics continue the legacy of Gore gluttony, while the vocals are delivered two-fold – high, gruff by Harvey; and beautiful low register gutterals by Ross Sewage (bass, vocals).
The FUN shows itself, once again, in the lyrical content. Look no further than the song titles for an idea of the ensuing slaughter:
- Putrescine and Cadaverine
- Drained of Color
- Rank and Defiled
- Lurid, Shocking, and Vile
- Undertaking the Overkilled
- No Headstone Unturned
There is not a single filler on this album; all tracks carry their own weight (and the weight of the kill). One can hear this album in (at least) two ways: At face value, as slimy, gory, blood-soaked Death Metal; or with thought and reflection, understanding that To the Dead, as well as all Exhumed albums, are metaphorically commentating on the real horrors of society. The twisted truth in terror. I love it!
Today, Exhumed Is:
- Matt Harvey – guitars, vocals (1990-2005, 2010 – present)
- Ross Sewage – bass, vocals (1994[95, bass]-99, 2015 – present)
- Mike Hamilton – drums (2011 – present)
- Sabastian Philips – guitars (2018 – present)
Rating: 8/10! Great musicianship; tight and sound! Fun lyrics!
Favorite songs: Rank and Defiled, Undertaking the Overkilled, Defecated, Disgusted