All Guts, No Glory
On their first full-length of original material since 2003’s ‘Anatomy Is Destiny’, San Jose, California’s Exhumed are still as sickeningly brutal and gory as ever and the album’s eleven tracks prove that Exhumed are still more than capable of grinding out their gore-soaked death metal twenty-one years into their career. Whether ready or not, the listener should be ready to behold the surgical and rotting horrors that lie within ‘All Guts, No Glory’, as for all their putridness, they’ll stick in your brain and fester away.
Tracks such as ‘Distorted and Twisted into Form’ are delightfully chaotic, trading between lyrics of sadistic surgical alteration and brilliantly crafted solos by vocalist/guitarist Matt Harvey. Other songs, such as ‘Death Knell’ and ‘Necrotized’, display Exhumed’s knack for the catchy mini-chorus and it doesn’t take long for most of the songs to get embedded under your skin in this manner.
All this talk of necropsies, pathology, blood and guts undoubtedly brings up the comparisons with pre-‘Swansong’ Carcass again, particularly the ‘Necroticism’ and ‘Symphonies of Sickness’ days, but Exhumed stopped stealing their organs long ago; and like Carcass, they’ve evolved into very much their own breed a long time ago and the guitar work in particular nod to the Gothenburg melodeath sound on this occasion, fusing nicely with their own stylings. Harvey’s screams are traded off with guttural growls frequently enough to keep the vocals interesting, and while every song on ‘All Guts, No Glory’, bar the intro, follows a simple formula of verse-chorus-verse-chorus-solo-verse/chorus, and within this formula, there’s no real deviation in terms of speed, style and indeed, finesse – or rather, lack of it. But that’s just a minor complaint.
It doesn’t quite stack up as their very best, but in a year where death metal legends are making their comebacks to mixed results, Exhumed show little sign of sounding out of touch. And although it’s largely more of the same, it’s a devastating, catchy death-grind soup that’s worthy of repeated offerings, served up to feast your ears on time and time again. I think I best stop with the horrid puns there.