In an old interview, the Godfather of Death Metal, Chuck Schuldiner, laid out the blueprint of what the genre is, what its themes are, and what listeners should expect from it. He described the genre as “fantasy, tongue-and-cheek, Horror movie level type of scary stuff…” Many bands within the genre have followed this blueprint and carried on the tradition of writing gore lyrics, but none better than the legendary, Exhumed, who have always leaned more towards the gore aspect of Death Metal and later coined the term Gore Metal. Their new album, Horror (Relapse Records) follows this blueprint very well.
It’s hard to listen to Horror and not get an overwhelming feeling of nostalgia when
listening to it. It’s 2019, yet this album is very reminiscent of the classic old school Death Metal that we all love and appreciate. This is their seventh full-length album, which consists of 15 songs that plows through very quickly and takes you on a journey of all things macabre. This album is a quick listen and should be treated as a fine wine; meant to be sipped in order to appreciate its special.
The album opens with ‘Unsound’, which comes in very heavy. The vocals accompanied by blast beats were done very well and what I noticed the most in the beginning of the track was how amazing the sound quality was. Then the album continues by giving us bits of deadly delights. I noticed that most of the songs on the album do not exceed two minutes, but within the two minutes of each song, the band really delivers. Each song has a great deal of detail and attention put into it that I appreciate. Some of my favorites were ‘The Red Death’, which had a lot of speed, yet remained true to the sound of Death Metal. It’s a bone-crushing with great guitars and drumming. I also love the transitions in the song; it was a complete eargasm. ‘Slaughter Maniac’ plays as the true essence of brutality and ‘Ripping Death’ in my opinion, is the ultimate circle pit song hands down. I can imagine this song being played live and it driving the audience wild. Some honorable mentions are ‘Naked, Screaming, and Covered with Blood.’ This song was very extreme both in instrumentals and lyricism. ‘Dead Meat’ was just up NASTY! This song is so intense, it’s insane. Last but not least, ‘Shattered Sanity’ plays as if it were a 90’s Metal classic.
Overall, Horror took me down a trip on memory lane, which ended with the last track ‘Re-Animated’ which was a poignant song to end with –not only in its delivery – in its name. It set the tone for how I felt listening to the entire album. It was like the craft of creating good Death Metal was carefully followed and executed.