From what remains of a once broken, reformed, then re-damaged band comes my favorite Death Metal album of 2013. Necrocracy is catchy and brutal without being shameless in its execution. There’s no filler, and no pretending. Like, say, ONSLAUGHT, EXHUMED grab you by the neck, violently drag you into the depths of brutality and hold you there throughout the duration of the album. Even so, you’re never taking their music any way other than seriously. “Coins Upon The Eyes” serves as a fitting opener based on that goal—listen to the first…5 seconds…and you will understand how the rest of this album will treat you.
For the modern Gore-Metal kings EXHUMED (or perhaps just king Matt Harvey, as he is the only remaining original member by far), this represents a colossal monument in brilliant musical and lyrical execution. For a band that sports releases such as "Platters of Splatter" and "Goregasm", they have actually crafted what I can only describe as a political Gore Metal record. If you thought, as I did initially, that their "Necrocracy" would simply be a corpse-populated governing body, issuing cliché proclamations of death and dying and such, think otherwise. "Necrocacy" screams in the face of modernity with a poetic rage that reminds me of KREATOR’s brilliant "Phantom Antichrist". Here are, yes, lyrics that are meaningful as well as superficially entertaining—“With gibbeting and pustules for all”.
It is rare and awesome for a band to present an album where every song is immediately enjoyable, let alone memorable. But in describing how much I have enjoyed this album, it is far more straightforward to state that at least half of this album is single-worthy. “Coins Upon The Eyes”, “The Shape Of Deaths To Come”, and “Carrion Call” brilliantly balance high-pitched screeching and guttural growling. And this is saying a lot, because that dynamic mix is extremely popular these days as an Extreme Metal equivalent to dirty/clean. But EXHUMED execute them in the best way I have heard recently. Now the guitar riffs and solos aren’t going to win EXHUMED any awards; but who cares? And considering that most Death Metal (Extreme Metal, really) is an incoherent mix of wank and chug, I’m happy to at least experience quality execution in the guitars. In fact, they serve to make the album highly accessible and listenable; riffs and fills support Harvey’s incredibly hooky choruses in the best way. And dare I say it, there’s a hint of melodicism that actually adds to the intensity—for one, because the rest of album can be sonically antagonistic, but the melodies thematically mirror the subtle dynamics of politics and ideology. That was deep.
I’m going to end this review, because I’ll just keep saying variations of “This album is fucking awesome.” You’ll be seeing this on my “Best of ‘13” list. And damn, I can’t wait for the Necrocratic revolution.
(Online October 29, 2013)