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Exhumed - "All Guts, No Glory" (CD)

Exhumed - "All Guts, No Glory" CD cover image

"All Guts, No Glory" track listing:

1. All Guts, No Glory
2. As Hammer To Anvil
3. Your Funeral, My Feast
4. Through Cadaver Eyes
5. Death Knell
6. Distorted And Twisted To Form
7. I Rot Within
8. Dis-assembly Line
9. Necrotized
10. Funereality
11. So Let it Be Rotten…So Let it Be Done

Reviewed by on June 21, 2011

"'All Guts, No Glory' is utterly revolting in all the right ways, but doesn't just sit back and rely on disgust. The songs are tight and structured, with no lag or filler."

If you ever find yourself losing faith in death metal, thinking that something you once devoted your black t-shirt clad existence to has been taken over by a bunch of swoop haircut-sporting, skinny jeans wearing, ironic mustache growing pre-teen wastes of DNA, look to the old schoolers. They will show you the way. Like Autopsy before them, Exhumed is back to reclaim death metal for all that is right with the genre with its first full album of original material in seven years, “All Guts, No Glory,” a gory slab wrested from the primeval days of metal of death.

From the outset, as the album steamrolls in with the eponymous intro track, an instrumental number with layered whammy dives and mid-era Carcass galloping gore, it is plain as a congealed cadaver that Exhumed hasn't come back to pull any artistic 180s. This is the same exulted Exhumed we remember from days past. The dual vocal attack of guitarist Matt Harvey and bassist Leon del Muerte is as potent and dripping with putrid slop as ever, and the songs are a combination of the aforementioned Carcass, General Surgery, and Exhumed's own brand of tech gore interspersed with Harvey's solos that are as fluid as an ever-flowing stream. Of course, that tongue-in-exit-wound sense of humor is still there as well. The album rips along with “As Hammer to Anvil,” followed by song cum T-shirt slogan “Your Funeral, My Feast,” on which Exhumed speeds and powers through rivers of gore in a jet-propelled military precision vehicle. The music is dense and overwhelming, but precise, reveling purely in the blood-soaked insanity.

Then there are those trademark Harvey harmonized leads and rhythm sections, with his unmistakable tone, huge and crystal. The key to Exhumed's sound is in the layers—the vocals and the guitar tracking are stacked like spare parts in the morgue on songs such as “Through Cadaver Eyes.” Soaring bridge leads and solos with Euro influences and hints of such disparate players as Ralph Santolla and even the Amott brothers can be heard. Drummer Danny Walker hits near gravity blast levels of speed on “Death Knell,” as del Muerte and Harvey rip through rapid spit vocals, the low end countering Harvey's mid-range drip.

The band stitches together variations and makes the songs flow naturally, rather than trying to stuff 250 pounds of emulsified tissue into a 200 pound body bag. “Distorted and Twisted to Form” is pure gore punk fun, all guts and attitude that go together to create the anthem of the album that will have pits a circlin' and choruses shouting. The long layoff did no damage, and may have even done some good. The gurgling, brutal scream at the end of “I Rot Within” seems to be Harvey's way of exorcising half a decade away from the band he birthed in his mid-teens. Then listen and learn, oh ye blast fiends of the future, and despair at the years of leg punishing practice it will take to reach the level of proficiency heard on “Dis-assembly Line.” This amount of intensity is tough to match, and doesn't let up for a second. The vocals strangle every instant, unwilling to let go, except when there is a tasty morsel of horror-inspired solo on the table.

I could go on and on, but all you really need to know is that you know what you're going to get with Exhumed, and the getting is good. This is pure gore virility, spreading its seed. Few shredders have the instinct and ability of Harvey in death metal today, and have the benefit of being paired with such uncommon brutality in the vocal department in the form of del Muerte. “All Guts, No Glory” is utterly revolting in all the right ways, but doesn't just sit back and rely on disgust. The songs are tight and structured, with no lag or filler. The album simply lunges for the kill, and carries it out in the sickest, most bizarre, inhumane, unusual, and cruel way imaginable.

Highs: Exhumed are back, hungry, vicious, and unrelenting.

Lows: No gripes, just gore.

Bottom line: Another old corpse crawls out of the grave to show the rest how it should be done, always.

Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls
4.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)