San Jose’s Exhumed need no introduction for the sanguine splattered masses, seeing as their debut album dropped almost 25 years ago. To The Dead is the latest example in gore metal by one of the genre’s defining bands, led by Matt Harvey and given ample support by fellow blood drenched maniac Ross Sewage (Impaled/Ghoul) to help complete the manic mix of intensity and beauty here. With a three year layoff, what do these Californian cadavers have to offer?
To The Dead is a bit more straightforward in its song length as opposed to its predecessor Horror which featured more songs albeit of a bite sized nature. “Putrescine and Cadaverine” opens the album with high flying intensity which only calms down when it reaches the middle of the track allowing for some melodic leads, which the band is well known for playing but some of that went by the wayside on their most recent full-length foray.
“Carbonized” is heavy on the drums courtesy of Mike Hamilton as he pounds away the skins backed by Harvey’s vocals and fretwork in conjunction with Sewage’s bass and Sebastian Phillips shred-ability. There is a lot to like here and the album’s ability to turn on a dime helps to set it apart from other death metal releases this year.
All in all, this album hearkens back to the days of yore for Exhumed with plenty of Gore Metal and Slaughtercult with touches of the more melodic side of both Death Revenge and Necrocracy. That provides a nice balance between beauty and putrescence which should come as no surprise with the love of Carcass ever present and the treasure trove of tribulation from which the band draws its greatest inspiration.
To The Dead is another solid entry into the band’s metallic mortuary, a fine example of what the band has been putting on display for over 30 years. If you keep on rotting, they’ll keep on rocking.
(released October 21, 2022 on Relapse Records)
Heavy Music HQ Rating:
Watch Exhumed – “Drained Of Color” Video