Extreme music genres will always have fans that place themselves in one of two camps: the purists who regard any experimentation as a betrayal, and the less rigid listeners who enjoy hearing their genre limits pushed. Grindcore is no exception, and as such, “All Guts, No Glory,” the latest offering from California’s EXHUMED, is unlikely to satisfy any fans who thought that CARCASS sold out when they released “Heartwork.”
This is some frantic stuff, with breakneck, complex riffs and prominent leads. After a brief instrumental opener, “As Hammer To Anvil” and “Your Funeral, My Feast” in rapid succession serve notice regarding the carnage contained herein. The riffs are mindblowing, with plenty of movement up and down the neck, and playing them must be the cardiovascular equivalent of an advanced workout. There is an emphasis here on technicality and chaos. The music is violent, but it is not controlled in the same manner as some Death Metal that, while brutal, is also deliberate. This, on the other hand, is the unrestrained savagery of a skilled fighter consumed in blood frenzy.
Holding this together is the drumwork of Danny Walker, who delivers an exhausting performance. Music such as this cannot be successful without a high level of skill in the rhythm section, and Walker meets the challenge here. The tightness he maintains with the riffing is impressive, and demonstrates that he shares an innate sense of timing with his bandmates.
Vocally, this is a mixed bag. Guitarist/vocalist Matt Harvey delivers dual tracks of screaming/squealing and growling. This meets the conventional requirement for extreme vocals while at the same time providing something a bit different. However, it also creates a bit of a distraction. The performance would have been more enjoyable if confined to just the growls, and the lack of cohesion among the vocal styles amid all of the other chaos here creates an unnecessary challenge for the listener trying to follow.
Among the discombobulated elements here, though, are flashes of melody, and it is this juxtaposition against the other savagery that makes “All Guts, No Glory” far more interesting than the run-of-the-mill. The guitar leads show influence form old-school genres such as Heavy Metal and Thrash. Solos on songs such as “Through Cadaver Eyes” and “Death Knell” are slower and more deliberate, tempering the hyperactivity of the song structures. It is interesting, and praiseworthy, that Harvey, whose technical dexterity is showcased so obviously, chose to forsake showing off his chops in favor of crafting a strong melody when performing his solos.
After a while, though, this does become a bit repetitive, so it is s good thing that the album lasts a mere 36 minutes. Anything longer, and the band would have been overstaying their welcome. This is decent Grindcore, with just enough experimentation
(Online June 14, 2012)