If you claim to be a fan of any type of extreme metal (death, grind, black, blackened-death, etc.) and you haven’t heard Exhumed’s 1998 masterpiece Gore Metal, then you’re really missing out on a pretty important part of the metal puzzle coming into the 2000s. It had that erratic and sloppy early Florida death sound with a bit of oldschool English grind that really had a certain magic to it. However, that sound got lost in almost cartoonish amounts of technicality as death/grind/black metal bands progressed. Lucky for us purists, Exhumed has been bringing the magic back while slowly introducing tighter, more concise riffage (without going full Necrophagist) with their latest effort, Necrocracy.
Press play and you’re immediately taken back to a time when headbanging didn’t have to be at 280bpm. Dynamically, “Coins Upon The Eyes” features great shifts in tempo without being so choppy, or whiplashing like Nile or even most tech-metal groups. Think more Gallery of Suicide-era Cannibal, hand-battered in Heartwork-era Carcass, rolled up into a grindcore taquito and deep fried in Schuldiner-isms. Not to mention, there’s a mid-tempo section where the lyrics are “DIE!” over and over again before an extended guitar solo section…alright, could you honestly say that shit doesn’t make you want to punch a hole straight through the fucking earth? “Shape of Deaths to Come,” either a reference to jazz legend Ornette Coleman or Swedish hardcore heroes Refused, follows with the grind equivalent to noise-rock trio, Unsane… of course, with sprinkles of Maiden, crumbles of Death, and with a nice glaze of Carcass.
“Dysmorphic” pummels you with the same Steer/Amott chuggery that is almost undeniably badass. This song, essentially, tells you to efficiently “fuck off.” Well said, “Dysmorphic”…well said. “Sickened” gets the most blast-beaty, whipping up a nice gore soufflé drizzled over a dense layer-cake of kick and snare. Maître-boucher (or guitarist/vocalist) Matt Harvey squelches on every song like the grumpy lead from a Snickers commercial (only with a vast hunger for organ grinding). So far, the brutality scale had its mind blown like a Geiger counter in Chernobyl, or a seismometer over the San Andreas Fault line.
Verging on blackened-deathmetal, à la Behemoth, “Carrion Call” lathes a jagged beat ripe with corpse-paint, but resolves in its grind roots. This seems to be a theme throughout Necrocracy: bits and pieces of sub-genres, but always back to that early U.K. grindcore. Final track “The Rotting” illustrates this again. Some ’90s Florida gore goodness into grind magic. Wait… that’s it: “gore-grind magic”…that’s what this shit is. Seriously, it’s fucking good. The esoteric ramblings can continue, but let’s just put it this way: it doesn’t matter if you lean towards death, grind, or whatever, Necrocracy fucking rules.