Exhumed // All Guts, No Glory
Rating: 4.0 —Still rotten to the core
Label: Relapse Records
Websites: myspace.com/exhumed | facebook.com/exhumedofficial
Release Dates: Uh… fucking July, dudes. Buy it.
By: Fisting Andrew Golota
One of my great failings as a fan of heavy music is that I will listen to the originators of a particular style/genre, but ignore all the bands that arrived in their wake. If I want to hear thrash, I’m not going to put on Warbringer, for instance, I’m going to listen to fucking Exodus [Hear, hear! - AMG]. And I find it hard to give a shit about the more recent crop of sludge/stoner rock, seeing as how I’ve already got the first 10 Black Sabbath albums. But sometimes, being a closed-minded asshole means you miss out on some good stuff. And apparently, during the 15 years I was pissed off that Carcass broke up, I missed out on Exhumed.
Luckily, I’ve been given a second chance. After spending most of the 2000’s working an office job, Exhumed mainman Matt Harvey has resurrected the goregrind legends with a new-and-improved lineup and a new album, the aptly-titled All Guts, No Glory. So let’s talk the new members: longtime drummer Col Jones sits this one out, replaced capably by Danny Walker of Intronaut/Jesu/Uphill Battle fame. The rest of the band includes guitarist Wes Caley (Uphill Battle) and bassist Leon Del Muerte (ex-Intronaut; I wonder if that makes band practices with Walker awkward?)
I’m generally skeptical of any band that replaces 3/4ths of the lineup, but my research shows that All Guts sounds remarkably like Exhumed’s last album, 2003’s Anatomy Is Destiny. The long hiatus does not seem to have had any adverse effect on Harvey’s ability to write furious riffs and gruesome lyrics. If anything, 8 years in Office Space mode might have given him a renewed passion for death metal, because All Guts is fucking ripping.
Itâ€™s worth mentioning that Harvey has been playing in Exhumed for the majority of his life (he founded the band 21 years ago, at age 15) and the dude obviously has a solid understanding of what makes grindcore great. This puts my leaders-not-followers bias to the test, because while Exhumed might not have done it first, they do it so well. They get it. The blatant Carcass-isms, the big dog/little dog vocals, the surprisingly melodic lead guitar work â€“ all of it comes off as the work of someone who is truly a fan of this music, someone who wishes it was 1990 just as much as we do. And who could possibly have a problem with that?
Thereâ€™s really no point in going into a track-by-track breakdown here. The album starts off with the title track, a 2-minute instrumental, and then beats the shit out of you for the next 33 minutes or so. I suppose “Death Knell” and “As Hammer To Anvil” stand out from the pack somewhat, by virtue of catchiness and killer lead work. Having said that, all the songs are really well put together, and jam-packed with deadly riffs.
Credit must also be given to whoever produced and mixed this thing, because it sounds big and meaty, like punching a giant bloody steak. It’s a very fine line between sounding like grind and sounding like shit, and the sound on this record is definitely the former.
All Guts, No Glory is a solid grind record, and the fact that it came after such a long time away from the music business makes it even more impressive. Very few bands pull off this style with as much enthusiasm and conviction as Exhumed. And until Bill Steer and co. get around to that inevitable reunion album, All Guts is about as good as it gets.