Sunday, March 18, 2012

Exhumed - All Guts, No Glory

Exhumed released three albums during several years surrounding the turn of the century. Since then, they have become one of the most respected and loved death grind bands ever along with Cattle Decapitation, Dying Fetus, and Carcass. I’ve been listening to Exhumed for about two years and was taken by surprise to hear that they had gotten back together and were going to release a new album. My favorite Exhumed album (before I heard this one) was Slaughtercult. My least favorite is the last album that they released with original material in 2003. With that weak (compared to their other two albums) release being the last original material they had shown the world, I was a little bit skeptical about the new album. But when I saw the reviews that the critics that had been given advance promo copies, I was convinced. Since then, I’ve seen them live when they toured for this album last year with Macabre, Cephalic Carnage, and Withered, where I was blown away by the violence and brutality these old-farts brought to us Seattleites.

As far as the more brutal albums go, this is in my mind one of the best metal albums released in 2011 along with Agony (my favorite release of 2011, but there were TONS of AMAZING records released during that year). Although at the concert, I only had enough money to buy a sticker and a small button/pin (whatever you call it), I can guarantee you that I will be picking up a fresh copy of this when The Summer Slaughter Tour passes through this summer. Although the music behind the two classics (Slautercult and Gore Metal) are unforgettable and ground-breaking, the quality of the production and sound really got in the way at times; mainly when I was listening to them on my Zune (Microsoft’s version of the iPod) because the treble is blisteringly loud. The overall sound on All Guts, All Glory is EXACTLY what I needed!

I feel sort of guilty for saying this, but this album makes the earlier Exhumed material look amateur and unorganized. Although that sounds harsh (remember, I LOVE their earlier material), if you look at the song structure from a more critical perspective, the songs on this record are a lot cleaner and less “quickly slapped together”. The band is also tighter, so that makes it much easier for there to be more dramatic transitions and pauses without having someone start playing before everyone else. The guitar solos aren’t PURE shredding, the guitarists really improved their technique and musicianship during their time off.  So there is an obvious increase in professionalism and creativity in the guitar solos alone. Not only that, the background music actually changes during the guitar solos to help them stand out; so it doesn’t sound like everyone’s playing as loud as they fucking can to try to get above the other instruments (although that probably wasn’t ever their intention in the first place, it just sounds like it).

The vocals sound much more developed, especially the screams. The screams in Gore Metal (not so much in Slaughtercult) get a little bit irritating and wonky at times just because they sound really undeveloped. But remember, there’s nothing wrong with that as long as they get better over time, and they have…A HELL OF A FUCKING LOT! Of course, when I saw them, they played the intro track before the two guitarists and the bassist flipped their guitars, showing the stickers on the backs of their instruments, each one having one word, eventually spelling out GORE. FUCKING. METAL. Right after that, Exhumed charged into As Hammer to Anvil. For people that are new to Exhumed, this actually a great album to start out with (although their first two albums are ESSENTIAL). For people that have been listening to Exhumed for a while and haven’t heard this record yet…HEAR IT! I would give All Guts, No Glory 18/20.