Raffy Reviews - Exhumed: 'Death Revenge'

Gore metal pioneers Exhumed return with a creatively brutal and effective concept album

Oct. 13, 2017


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Background: 2017 has been a relatively solid year for the world of extreme metal. We've had countless releases ranging from the blackened to the technical and melodic death varieties come in from many different labels in the past several months. In addition, this month of October also marks the well-awaited return of gore metal enhusiasts and pioneers Exhumed.

The Band At Hand: Exhumed began in the very early 1990s in San Jose, California. Ever since their formation, the group has actively contributed their own uniquely violent and aggressive blend of death metal and goregrind to the world. Through releasing seven full-length albums (most recently via Relapse Records) and performing on several tours, this long-running act has undoubtedly made its mark on the extreme metal community. 

Album Breakdown: Death Revenge presents itself mainly as a concept album revolving around the story of grave robberies and killing reports taking place in early 1800s-era Scotland. In the release's primary dozen tracks, which add up to over 45 minutes of content, these aforementioned accounts are told through the themes and lyrics related to violence, gore, crime, and the likes. The album also features the return of many previous Exhumed elements that fans have grown to appreciate, such as guitar riffs consisting of both the death metal and grind variety, with some thrashy and chuggy sections thrown in as well...in addition to blast beat double-bass drumming, great transitions in the compositions, aggressive vocal aesthetics and more.

Best Parts: The greatest thing about this release in particular is the concept itself as well as how creatively it is told through the compositions and how well executed everything is. The instrumentals work well to add much flair to the vocals, and the two come together brilliantly. Some parts include various melodies and rhythms that are fairly catchy and take away from the fast-paced brutality and heaviness of the grind sections, which is a nice change of pace. The production is good as always all throughout, and the mixture of different types of riffs makes any listener want to play along. The instruments are mixed in well, with nothing being overshadowing or underused. The vocals provide all one-hundred percent of their effort and energy, too. Some of the tracks act as orchestral, instrumental preludes or interludes in between the ongoing destruction and chaos. One track, which is the longest and arguably strongest of this release, opens up with brief introductory orchestral melodies that lead to a transition into death metal and finally closes on a melodic tone yet again, with good structuring and attention to detail. Oh, and the guitar solos are a cool touch.

Cons: Honestly, this album is almost perfect in every which way for the genre...with only one minor nitpick to address. The one that comes to mind happens to be the orchestral tracks which, while effectively placed, drag out for a bit too long and might disinterest many of the listeners who are here for fast-paced brutality. They are a nice break, but these tracks don't really add much when you get down to it and, unless you're a big fan of the soothing classical music, you'll probably end up skipping them on future listens. 

The Verdict: Overall, Exhumed's Death Revenge album can be considered their modern magnum opus because of its varied levels of creativity and excellent storytelling. It is a brutal, effective, subtle, and hard-hitting concept release all in one. The album has very, very trivial flaws that are few and far in between and end up overshadowed by Death Revenge's many strong-suits. I'd recommend it to any gore enthusiast, death or grind metal listener, and/or Exhumed fanatic alike. 

Fave Tracks: "Night Work", "The Anatomy Act of 1832"


This is gore metal!

Review by: Dave Raffy

-Musician, enthusiast, fan & promoter

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