Review Summary: Exhumed establish a Necrocracy to the glorious hymn of Christopher Hitchens' 'God Is Not Great' and me masturbating in a corner.
Death metal and grindcore mixers galore (or just gore) Exhumed managed to hit the severed testicle well out of the park this time around, and nobody's happier to hear such a fantastic album than I am. With “Necrocracy
”, Matt Harvey and his cohorts have done two things. They've succeeded their old approach to making music, paying homage to the olden days, and they've made a kickass new sound to go along with it. You know what we call that in America? Neither do I, but I'd reckon it's something along the lines of, "fuck
in' cool shi
t". That's what “Necrocracy
” is - it's fuck
in' cool shi
I've listened to this album for quite a while since the promo came in, and I can say for sure that it appeals to the older Exhumed fan in me just as much as it appeals to my inner "modern" death metal fan. There are plenty of reminders of "Slaughtercult
" on “Necrocracy
” - hell, I'd argue that some of these riffs hearken back to the days of "Gore Metal
" - and there are riffs and solos in here that are reminiscent of everything from Amon Amarth to Bloodshot Dawn (which, now that I think about it, is a terrible comparison because it's just A to B... oh well). As you might've guessed by that comment, the guitarwork on this album tends to be pretty varied - and with a guitarist like Bud Burke supplying lead talent, it sounds pretty awesome. When you've got a high-pitched scream like Matt's on "The Shape of Deaths to Come" lead into a short but sweet solo, you can't really complain about anything. You just lean your head back and enjoy, like I did. Or you headbang and enjoy, also like I did. Between the technical passages on "Sickened" and the melodic, elongated solo on "Dysmorphic", there's a piece of freshly-Exhumed guitarwork for everyone on this album.
The vocals of “Necrocracy
” are kind of like the teeth of the chainsaw that shreds your body to bits, but a bit of the vocals also serve as the engine of the saw at times. Harvey's vocals really lead the mix and the sound until it's time to shut up and let the guitars do the talking, and that's a good thing - being able to front an entire band's presence is an incredible feat, and it's something I've said before when reviewing albums with good vocals, but I really feel that it's worth mentioning at length this time around. The vocals sound impeccable, even compared to the band's last full-length, which had pretty decent vocals and speed to boot. On songs like "Dysmorphic" and "The Rotting", the sharp, grating highs and the deep, bellowed lows meld together in a fantastic orgy of the typical death metal growl and the traditional grindcore highs. Rounding out the vocal experience are the middle-pitched screams that serve as the most common vocals you'll find on “Necrocracy
”, which work wonders with the rest of the mix, fusing very much intentionally with the drum fills and the backing guitar, but giving way to the lead guitar when the riffs need to be belted out.
The drumming on this record is the most eclectic and chaotic aspect of “Necrocracy
”, and I say this knowing how crazy the vocals get on tracks like "Sickened". Remember when I talked about Harvey's screaming taking the form of the chainsaw's teeth, but also occasionally becoming the engine? Well, think of them as a substitute engine, when the drums are busy doing something else, because the drum fills are the real engine to the chainsaw. Jeeze, metal metaphors get so fuck
ing confusing sometimes. Anyways, the drumming still has about ten billion blast beats and plenty of hat hits, so it's still Exhumed material through and through, but something peculiar about the fills on “Necrocracy
” is the way they work with the rest of the mix. The drums never fuck
ing shut up - which makes sense, because they're the drums - but with the way they're produced, you never have to worry about the fills being a strain on your ears. They'll never get boring, because the album's producers over at the Machine Shop studio knew what they were doing. They struck a hard-to-achieve balance between the drums pummeling your face in and the drums being boring as fuck
to listen to, and that's what you hear on this record. If only they made Lamb of God sound this interesting, eh?
When I came into “Necrocracy
”, I had already witnessed "All Guts, No Glory
" and I wasn't particularly impressed with that album. I enjoyed it, sure, but I wasn't blown away by it. Exhumed's latest offering does exactly what it needs to do for the band - it blows you away. There's not a riff out of place, nor a solo in need of fixing on this record, and that's the way it should be. That's how you know that Exhumed is doing what they want to do. They want to make killer music, and this time around, they have - “Necrocracy
” is very much an intelligent, calculated incision into your brain tissue, cutting just delicately enough for them to juxtapose the surgeon's work by trampling over the rest of your broken body. I'm sure they'll get elected into office when “Necrocracy
” drops on the sixth of August.