Friday, August 19, 2011

Exhumed - All Guts No Glory




I was never a huge death metal fan; I started with power/speed metal, then to thrash, then somehow skipped over death's emergence with Death, Morbid Angel, Obituary, Pestilence, etc., and went straight to black metal (with doom in the background the whole time, natch).

But Exhumed here were so much fun (and had some distinct thrash elements, like Sodom or Kreator) that I keep listening over and over.

They try to say they're "no genre" in the downloads, but whatfuckingever-- it's old school "brutal" death metal.

Does that mean something to you? If if does-- this is AWESOME.

It's utterly generic, but done as well as humanly possible-- really cool, fun stuff. It's actually the most fun I've had listening to death metal since the last Hail of Bullets album.

Unless I indicate otherwise below, assume every track on All Guts, No Glory follows this blueprint-- simple, three- or four-chord riffs with atonal, whammy-heavy solos, detuned riffs (way down to B, a fifth below standard, the home of Pelican and --mai oui!-- Hail of Bullets), also screamed vocals....

Track 2, "As Hammer to Anvil" rivals pretty much anyone else in terms of fury and speed (even though the riff is basically just the open string picked as fast as possible, with an occasional pinch harmonic)... about half way through we get the normal death metal breakdown, lead-in to solo-- but: so well done it's distinct.

"Through Cadaver Eyes" so fast and mean you'll want to listen again and again... (unless you're in more of a Sara Bareilles mood, I guess)... and despite being so brutal, the instrumentation is also agile and able to turn on a time without disappearing up its own butt, à la some progressive death metal....

Possible highlight "Death Knell" is blistering, breakneck-paced thrash/death, with a melodic solo like Sadus... then, at 3 minutes hits that sweet spot of death metal with a simple five-chord outro, complete with tolling bells... it only competes with:

"I Rot Within," all fury, even faster than the above tracks, even angrier... catchy, and overall probably the best track here, and:

"Necrotized," which flirts with tech death for a second, but is quickly back to old school-death-bordering-on-thrash (like Sodom)....

Great stuff. Furious-yet-considered, intricate-yet-simple, funny-yet-serious....

Like death metal? You will enjoy this. It's "fun" death metal: stupid but intense, the musical equivalent of a movie like Shoot 'em up or Drive Angry.

Bonus Points: final track, "So let it be rotten, so let it be done" a death-metally pun on the refrain from Metallica's "Creeping Death."

--Horn

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