It seems almost odd to say that a release from a band which has been creating over two decades worth of impacting high grade destructive metal has now found maturity in sound but that is the notable thing about the album Necrocracy. With no slight on anything which came before from them, San Jose band Exhumed has with their new release found a restrained or patient stance to their mix of death metal and grindcore, a maturity. The release still storms the barricades and takes the senses on a malevolent ride of helter-skelter intensity and lethally carnivorous invention but there is a thoughtful timing to its premeditated prowl and ravenous consumption which has arguably not been there before.
Following the acclaimed All Guts, No Glory album of 2011, the Relapse Records released Necrocracy sees the appearance of another change in line-up in the band, Exhumed founder and vocalist/guitarist Matt Harvey joined by bassist/vocalist Rob Babcock, drummer Michael Hamilton, and returning band member guitarist /vocalist Bud Burke, who originally played bass with the band from 1999 to 2003. The new collective of talent seems to have inspired a shift in the attack of the band, melodic weaves and passionate imaginative fires offering potent persuasion alongside the ever savage grinding touch and enveloping sonic pestilence Exhumed are renowned for. It is not a dramatic twist or evolution in the sound but one with strength to inspire a new breath of hunger for the band.
Coins Upon The Eyes instantly rips out the jugular, riffs and rhythms combining as they drop upon the senses from a heady height before rampaging with primal toxicity and torrential maliciousness. As the guitars churn up and score flesh the bass of Babcock finds a throaty growl and presence carrying one of the best and most intimidating voices heard this year whilst the vocals of Harvey, perfectly assisted by other members, casts an intrusive caustic web over it all to elevate the immediate call and potency of the track further. It is the guitars and their melodic flames though which secure the complete submission of the passions, their craft and fiery imagination a thrilling temper and compliment to the aligned sadistic sounds.
The following brawling The Shape Of Deaths To Come snarls and claws at the ear first, persistent slashes of riffs and the perpetually suffocating bass narrative offering the darkest oppressive shadow, nailed into place by the excellent rhythmic thrashing delivered by Hamilton. As its predecessor the song flourishes to greater depths with the sonic majesty and inventive acidity of the guitars though still the heavy corrosive nature of the sound and track leaves the heart ablaze the strongest.
It is an impressive start which already leaves many other similar genre based releases floundering, something the title track with its riveting acrimonious rhythmic start reinforces. Before the track explodes the impressiveness of the individuals within Exhumed is already a towering persuasion, from guitars to bass, drums to vocals, everything and everyone is at a height debatably missing before in the band. This could be their greatest line-up and certainly as the song unleashes its merciless rabidity and mordant charms, there is no reason to go back on that suggestion. Again insatiable in intent and devouring hunger, the track rises in intensity and violent breath along its sonic shaft, the increase leading to an expulsion of venom evolving into a maze of sonic captivation and acrid energy, the song a furnace of satisfaction by its end.
Through the raptorial ferociousness of Dysmorphic and the break neck vitriolic fury of Sickened the release continues to pleasingly scar ear and senses with biting expertise whilst the deliciously intriguing (So Passes) The Glory Of Death with its flowing creative evolution, and its successor the magnetically vehement Ravening explore darker dangerous corners of sound and emotions within again blistering ferocity.
That ferociousness is taken to its loftiest plateau with Carrion Call, the track the mightiest predatory despoiler on the album. Unrelenting in its brutal voracity and just as ironhearted in its exhausting intensity, the track is an immense slab of barbarous glory. The same can be declared about final track The Rotting, the confrontation an uncompromising scourge hell-bent on annihilation though it is not adverse to deceptive temptation through the excellent heated melodic solo.
Necrocracy is an excellent release with only one issue holding it back from classic status, though probably a relatively big one for some. Apart from a couple of songs the album lacks the lure which makes it memorable and persistent away from its presence, the hooks to recall and replay at any time without aural assistance. It is surprising such the impact in its company but something just holding it back. Exhumed has created a thrilling encounter nevertheless, one of their finest invitations to date which should be greedily accepted.
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