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Exhumed Touch Dicks with Death on Necrocracy

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Exhumed love death. More than gore, pain, or fear, the San Jose quartet adores the end of human life and the trappings that surround it. And though they’ve liberally courted the “gore metal” moniker—it’s even the name of their 1998 debut—the band’s obsession with man as meat has always been tapered in a worship of the end of all life; Exhumed songs are rarely about the cries of helpless female victims or the post-apocalypse in which murder is the law, as much as they’re about people dying, usually through explicit means. This is why Necrocracy, the band’s fifth full-length album and the much-anticipated follow-up to 2011’s All Guts, No Glory, feels so right. This record is classic piece of blazing gore metal with death on its mind from start to finish, a frenzied tribute to the elbowing your dumb ass off this mortal coil.

Production-wise, Necrocracy picks up where All Guts… left off, with a lush and just-crisp-enough sound that showcases both the band’s chops and their frantic pace and attitude. The writing on this new album varies slightly, though, in that the band seems more content to break up their blasts of guitar buckshot and drum beatdowns with slightly more melodic and dramatic leads and breakdowns, hence the sense of death outweighing gore on the records. Make no mistake, there’s grotesqueness galore here—songs like closer “The Rotting” and “Ravening” bring buckets of blood—but they also contain moments of infectious, tempered riffage and soloing that cements the band’s place among the genre’s most talented.

Like most Exhumed releases, Necrocracy is best heard in its entirety; there’s no single on this record or track that sums everything up in three or so minutes. Some stand-outs: “The Shape of Deaths To Come” is a steamroller of a track with guitarist/vocalist Matt Harvey doing some excellent high shriek/low growl vocal dichotomy. “Dysmorphic” has a twisted mid-paced strength to it, with an awesome chorus that will be fun to chant live and a creepy acoustic-tinged breakdown part that makes the song. “Sickened” is the blazing grindcore Exhumed that we know and love, opening with a throaty “BLEGH” and keeping up a breakneck pace from then on. “(So Passes) The Glory of Death” and “Carrion Call” also both bring huge raised-fist choruses in fully-formed and well-constructed death metal songs; the latter includes a wonderful moment of Harvey shrieking “THRASH” that just makes you want to tackle the nearest person and cough up your trachea into their fucking face.

Death must be in the air, as 2013 is proving an awesome year for traditional old-school death metal—we’ve got an incredible new Autopsy record, a Carcass comeback album, and as solid a record as Exhumed have ever created. Full of as much soul as it has guts, Necrocracy is simultaneously cool, true, and different in the ways that matter. Death lives.

Exhumed’s Necrocracy comes out August 6 on Relapse. Stream the entire album here and purchase it here.

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