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Exhumed
Necrocracy
August 2013
Released: 2013, Relapse Records
Rating: 5.0/5
Reviewer: Aaron Yurkiewicz

These are tumultuous times that we’re living in friends…Global economies are in disarray, political discontent seems to know no boundaries, and the world is in a state of unparalleled upheaval. In times of uncertainty, the masses should find solace in the one unifying constant that will always be dependable, that will always be certain. Friends, rejoice in the comfort in knowing that death is always certain.



This message is a paid political advertisement by the campaign for NECROCRACY 2013.

In a year already packed to the hilt with quality releases, Exhumed ups the ante yet again with their latest full length platter o’ gore, NECROCRACY. An album that does the unthinkable by besting its predecessor (the phenomenal ALL GUTS, NO GLORY), NECROCRACY is the crowning achievement from this generation’s sultans of sickness.



Consider this scenario – in an alternate universe, if Carcass had released an album in between NECROTICISM and HEARTWORK, it would’ve sounded a helluva lot like NECROCRACY. It’s an album that’s every bit as visceral and ugly as anything you’d expect from Exhumed, but which exhibits a pedigree of exceptional songwriting and performance quality that everybody kinda knew that the band was capable of, but had yet to be fully realized. NECROCRACY is the musical culmination of everything that the band has been building towards since ANATOMY IS DESTINY – smartly crafted death metal riffs, lead runs that would make Priest and Maiden proud, and an overall catchiness in the songwriting structure that begs to be heard. Opening with the death metal anthem of the year, “Coins Upon the Eyes”, the band tears into the album bearing a mouth full of teeth and a cadre of six string wizardry that immediately puts Exhumed on a completely different level of reverence. Driving head first through the grind friendly “The Shape of Deaths to Come” to the buoyant volley of the title track (which is possibly one of the best in the band’s catalog to date), and on through the night to the stalwart march of “The Rotting”, Exhumed rarely stop to come up for air on NECROCRACY. And it’s wonderful; it’s an album that’s both straightforward brutality and tasteful maturity, wrapped in a rotting carcass left exposed on the side of a freeway.



When I found myself sitting at my desk singing the chorus to “Dysmorphic” while working on Excel spreadsheets for my day job, I quickly realized that NECROCRACY is a definite contender for best of show in 2013. With the only plausible exception being Carcass’ forthcoming SURGICAL STEEL, Exhumed’s NECROCRACY is easily the best death metal album of the year – it simply CAN’T get better than this. At least until their next album, that is.



NECROCRACY releases globally in August through Relapse Records.
Track Listing

1. Coins Upon the Eyes
2. The Shape of Deaths to Come
3. Necrocracy
4. Dysmorphic
5. Sickened
6. (So Passes) The Glory of Death
7. Ravening
8. Carrion Call
9. The Rotting

Lineup

Rob Babcock - Bass, Vocals
Matt Harvey - Vocals, Guitars
Bud Burke - Bass, Vocals, Guitars
Mike Hamilton - Drums


Next review: » Exhumed - Necrocracy
Previous review: » Epicrenal - The Crystal Throne

Exhumed
Necrocracy
August 2013
Released: 2013, Relapse Records
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson

Until the long-awaited new album from the reincarnated Carcass arrives next month – and it is quite awesome – fans can get themselves primed with the latest effort from California's also recently reanimated Exhumed. Perhaps the most competent and clever of the gore-grind acts that followed in Carcass' wake, Exhumed returned after a five-year hiatus with 2010's stellar All Guts, No Glory, which ratcheted up the technical death metal prowess and eased up on the overt splatter-ama.



Despite some rather significant lineup changes, only guitarist/vocalist Matt Harvey remains from the Guts roster, though former bassist Bud Burke returns this time on guitar and vocals, Necrocracy – the band's fifth album overall - is an excellent follow up that takes the changes in stride and plays to their strengths. And in its approach, Necrocracy, perhaps ironically, perhaps not, recalls Carcass' similarly titled 1991 masterpiece Necroticism, with grit and grace doled out in equal measure.



Groovier and gnarlier than Guts, Necrocracy is as catchy as it is brutal and as sophisticated – if that's the right word - as it is savage, thanks to the lockstep tag-team riffing and nifty soloing of Harvey and Burke, meat-grinding vocal tradeoffs of Harvey (the guttural) and bassist Rob Babcock (the shrieking), and the gut-wrenching rhythms of Babcock and Mike Hamilton. The beefier backbone gives Exhumed a swagger that actually makes them sound more menacing, even as the material is less obviously grotesque - “The Rotting” and “Dysmorphic” being about as “sick” as things get, and “Dysmorphic” ends up being tempered by a short acoustic foray.



The somewhat rough-hewn production here is a perfect fit as well, giving Necrocracy an abrasive old-school feel that delivers genuine crunch – and copious slabs of it – and avoids the clinical sterility that has become so common. Instead, “(So Passes) The Glory of Death,” the title track and “Carrion Call” come at you with hooks aplenty and grind away with determined glee. And if thing get a bit messy, so be it.



This is death metal the way it should be, but hardly is anymore: complex but still compact, well-played without being wanky, brutal without going to ridiculous extremes, and listenable, if not inviting, in spite of its inherent ghastliness. Necrocracy kills, plain and simple.
Track Listing

1. Coins Upon the Eyes
2. The Shape of Deaths to Come
3. Necrocracy
4. Dysmorphic
5. Sickened
6. (So Passes) The Glory of Death
7. Ravening
8. Carrion Call
9. The Rotting

Lineup

Matt Harvey – guitar, vocals
Bud Burke - guitar, vocals
Rob Babcock – bass, vocals
Mike Hamilton - drums


Next review: » Firewind - Apotheosis Live 2012
Previous review: » Epicrenal - The Crystal Throne





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