Exhumed – Necrocracy
Release Date: August 06, 2013
Following up 2011’s All Guts, No Glory, was going to be a daunting challenge for San Jose’s Exhumed. In fact, I was skeptical as to whether the band could follow-up such a good album. After taking a five-year hiatus from 2005 to 2010, the band proved that they were more than a legacy act cashing in on previous credibility. In many ways, Necrocracy needs to be as good or better than All Guts, No Glory to show naysayers that Matt Harvey and crew didn’t just catch lightning in a bottle. They did. Exhumed use their trademark mixture of thrash and traditional death metal and extreme gore to make one of the best albums of their long career. The main thing that makes Necrocracy so impressive is the band’s song writing.
All too often many death metal bands depend too heavily on their technical skill and skimp on writing catchy tunes. First and foremost, Exhumed focus on making their songs memorable. I keep finding myself repeating the chorus to the opening track “Coins Upon the Eyes”, in my head. The song digs its hooks into my subconscious and won’t let go. The album’s riffs spread like an infection and just won’t get out of my head.
The alternating leads between Matt Harvey and Bud Burke are retro without feeling kitschy. The solos hearken back to the heyday of thrash metal. Former Deeds of the Flesh members Rob Babcock (bass) and Mike Hamilton (drums) provide the rock solid rhythm to Exhumed’s manic gore fueled riffing.
“Shapes of Deaths to Come” is a perfect example of Hamilton’s pummeling drums. Not only does Rob Babcock handle bass work but also serves as the growling death metal vocal counterpoint to Matt Harvey’s almost hardcore punk screeching vocals. The band really pulls on their strengths to cross multiple genres to make songs that aren’t just catchy but interesting to listen to. Multiple songs ; such as title track “Necrocracy,” “Dysmorphic,” and “(So Passes) The Glory of Death;” use almost melodic death metal guitar solos reminiscent of Heartwork-era Carcass. Necrocracy’s final track, “The Rotting” showcases Exhumed’s marriage of old school death metal with genre mixing. The song alternates between sounding almost like “Hammer Smashed Face” era Cannibal Corpse and hard core punk; while Rob Babcock is growling and then shifts gears with blast beats and Matt Harvey’s punk rock fury and then Harvey and Burke weave in a nice melodic guitar solo. It never feels forced, just catchy as hell.
With Necrocracy, Exhumed updates their traditionalist death metal with seamless genre mixing that creates catchy death metal classics.