When an album cover depicts four long haired zombies devouring the flesh of the dead from the grave, I expect it to be a very unrelenting death metal album. Dismemberment, mutilation, disembowelment and any other descriptor for human evisceration are what I expect to drive the music and lyrics. Exhumed delivers the splattered gore on All Guts, No Glory; a visceral mess of American death metal riffs artfully entwined with Swedish style melodic solos.
Most modern death metal strive to be as technical as possible – sweeping better than Cinderella (the fairy tale character, not the ’80s glam metal band of the same name) across the fretboard and tapping like a tap dancer on a high-wire – demonstrate the guitarists’ skills honed in the bedroom woodshop while maintaining as much atonality as possible in order to be more brutal than Dethklok. Exhumed maintain the speed of mid-90s death metal while adding in very memorable and headbanging riffs such as the main one on “As Hammer to Anvil” “Through Cadaver Eyes” or “I Rot Within”.
The blood drenched riffs are complimented by the deep growls and dry rasp of lead guitarist and vocalist Matt Harvey. Rather than sounding separate from the music, Harvey uses his pipes as a fourth instrument. I’m sure the lyrics focus on death and gore in a myriad of ways but their message doesn’t matter as the music delivers the death and decay well enough with the vocals imparting the fatal blow to the skull, ejecting all of the gray matter on the blood stained amps.
Normally such brutal music will get extremely old after several minutes and there are definitely instances where Exhumed don’t let up such as on “Distorted and Twisted to Form” reaching back into their grindcore roots and discharging with atonal and whammy-laden solos lifted from Reign in Blood-era Slayer. “Necrotized” retains the grindcore sensibilities and allows bassist Leon del Muerte (Leon of Death) to be heard in a distorted burst. The relentless and often groovy blood riffs are countered by a respite though melodious leads.
Hearing these soaring solos you’d think that the trio of Exhumed hailed from Sweden rather than California. “Your Funeral, My Feast” demonstrates Harvey’s knack for writing tremendous, melodic solos. They create a nice break before jumping straight back into the murderous fray such as on “Death Knell”.
Despite being around for over 20 years, Exhumed has proven themselves to not fall into irrelevancy by promptly shattering the skulls and eating the intestines of the younger bands through relentless riffs, melodic solos and demonic vocals. They have all the guts and certainly deserve all the glory.[Visit the band's website]