To The Dead

rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. Putrescine and Cadaverine
02. Drained Of Color
03. Carbonized
04. Rank And Defiled
05. Lurid, Shocking, And Vile
06. Undertaking The Overkilled
07. Nerotica
08. No Headstone Unturned
09. Defecated
10. Disgusted

EXHUMED have been one of the most consistent bands forwarding an utterly savage display of late eighties / early nineties, grind influenced death metal. Frontman Matt Harvey's extreme metal devotion has rightfully led to interesting stints and full-fledged ventures in bands as varied as EXODUS, REPULSION, NOOTHGRUSH and EXODUS. EXHUMED ultimately remains unf*ckwithable because they have stuck to their guns, and with album number nine, "To The Dead", they're proving that they are going to remain relevant and vital for as long as they say so.

Aside from a five-year hiatus during the aughts, EXHUMED have been hacking away at the corpse since 1990. The band's timeless nature remains throughout the album, and is encapsulated within production aesthetics that retain the up-front ferocity, with no weak links or shortcomings. The unit ultimately maintains its father-figure status, however, because it has remained true to the spirit of classic, grind-influenced death metal which continues to be melodic, memorable and completely violent.

In short, "To The Dead" is a perfect bridge between early DEATH and modern day NAPALM DEATH. It's an album that's ripe with rich guitar melodies, blasting death grind and the dueling attack of Harvey's high-pitched, angry screams and Ross Sewage's deep, guttural vocals. While regularly revered for their early material, like the unit's 1998 debut "Gore Metal", the band has remained a constant threat to metal consumers' ears and competing bands. They continuously write thoughtful, catchy songs, which are both true to heavy metal's spirit and death metal, as well as being incredibly fierce and violent, painfully evident by any contemporary standard if you consider the dizzying belligerence of "Defecated".

An obvious element that cements the band as one of death metal's most vicious bands is longtime drummer Mike Hamilton (DEEDS OF FLESH, ex-VILE). "No Headstone Unturned"'s manic death thrash attack, encompassing blistering blast beats and varying thrashing tempos, simply couldn't have been pulled off by the vast majority of extreme metal drummers. Harvey and company humbly looked beyond ego-related factors when they enlisted former members like Mike Beams, Leon del Muerte, Matt Widener and Bud Burke to contribute to the songwriting process, suggesting an appreciative and familial element to EXHUMED's slaughter cult.

In spite of any sense of mindless scene allegiance and groupthink, new or old, EXHUMED secures its position as a leading figure because of its unyielding devotion to death metal's spirit. "To The Dead" isn't likely to be deemed one of the band's greatest efforts, even though it genuinely is, but there is no question that it's one of the best death metal albums of 2022. Instead of diving down any YouTube, Bandcamp or Spotify rabbit hole, death metal maniacs can be rest assured that they can be properly, immediately satiated by EXHUMED's "To The Dead".

Author: Jay H. Gorania
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