Ghost Cult caught up with our old pal Matt Harvey of Exhumed to discuss the new album from the band, “To The Dead” – out now from Relapse Records. In addition to catching up on his life and the band and Bay Area Death Metal, Matt treated us to a track-by-track breakdown of the new album. In addition, he discussed the many contributions from members of the band, current, and past who made an impact on the new album!
Tag Archives: Matt Harvey
ALBUM REVIEW: Exhumed – To The Dead – Relapse Records
Besides writing reviews and attending shows, I have both full time and part time jobs, a family and too many cats. It’s safe to say that I like to stay busy but I have nothing on Exhumed founder and frontman, Matt Harvey. In this year alone he toured with both Gruesome and Death tribute band Left To Die (performing Leprosy in its entirety!) If that’s not enough, he somehow conjured up more hours in a day to write and record Exhumed’s latest batch of gore soaked madness, To The Dead (Relapse Records).
This Weekend’s All-Star Tribute to Death’s Chuck Schuldiner to Be Livestreamed
Next week marks the 20th anniversary of the passing of iconic Death vocalist and guitarist Chuck Schuldiner on December 13th, 2001. This weekend his friends, peers and disciples will assemble at The Brass Mug in Tampa, Florida to perform a tribute concert to the man and legend of Death Metal. The concert will feature an all-star cast of musicians, including six former members of Death. The show is expected to sell out, if it is not already, but now it will be lived streamed, which you can purchase at the link below.
ALBUM REVIEW: Pounder – Breaking The World
When listening to Pounder’s second album, Breaking The World, one immediately notices an improvement in lead singer/guitarist Matt Harvey’s (Exhumed/Gruesome) vocal performance. His voice still has the husky, untrained timbre that was an unfortunate liability on 2019’s Uncivilized, but also has more conviction and grit behind it this time around. It may still be a dealbreaker for some listeners, but at least they didn’t attempt to put a power ballad on here…
FESTIVAL REVIEW: Decibel’s Metal & Beer Fest 2019
Decibel Magazine’s Decibel Metal & Beer Fest was, to put it simply, stacked. Fourteen bands across all variants of Death, Grindcore, Prog, and Doom, descended onto Orange County for a weekend of heart-pounding jubilation. The two-day event was held this year at The Observatory, a large yet paradoxically intimate standing-room-only venue, intelligently designed to put the audience at three different heights across the entire space, offering uninhibited views of the stage beyond the perils of the pit.Continue reading
PODCAST: Episode 64 – Matt Harvey of Exhumed Talks Death Metal, Horror and Metallica
One of our favorite interviewees in person or the phone is Matt Harvey of Exhumed. Matt is as amazing to chat with as he is a guitarist and bandleader. Exhumed’s new album is the aptly titled Horror (Relapse Records) which came out just ahead of Halloween 2019, and he was in a spooky mood when we chatted. We talked about the new album, his proclivity for writing great OSDM songs, the consistency of the current lineup of the band, his favorite horror movies ever, and his thoughts on attending one of Metallica’s “S and M 2 Concerts” in San Francisco, earlier this fall, and more. Catch the band on tour through the start of December with Necrot! Continue reading
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Gruesome – Twisted Prayers
Born out of a ferocious love and respect for Death’s early and face-ripping work, Gruesome, the brainchild of Exhumed’s Matt Harvey and Death To All’s Gus Rios are ready to unleash a new full-length onto the world in Twisted Prayers (Relapse). Some may wonder how they’ve stretched out so much from Death’s songbook to cover two LP and a couple of EPs, and the answer is by writing ferocious and infectious Death Metal…
Exhumed – Death Revenge
There is no doubting the near-legendary status that has been given to Exhumed, these guys have been producing some of the most classic sounding Death Metal for eons now, and Matt Harvey and crew continue to be one of the most consistent bands in the genre. Continue reading
Gruesome – Dimensions of Horror
In the world of death metal, there are few bands who are well respected as the band who set the foundations the whole genre, Death. To this day, the death of Chuck Schuldiner remains one of the biggest losses in the metal community, but the spirit of Death never really died. The Death to All tours kept Death a relevant part of the genre even after the death of Chuck, and this is where Gruesome becomes relevant as well.
Anyone listening to this band will instantly connect their sound to Death’s as there is some heavy influence in their sound. Gruesome are a death metal supergroup, with guitarist/vocalist Matt Harvey and drummer Gus Rios toured with Death, with both members playing on Death to All tours previously. So if any band is worthy of picking up where Death left off, arguably it’s them. They already showed why they are a force to be reckoned with on their 2015 début album Savage (Relapse Records), but they solidify their excellence on their follow-up EP Dimensions of Horror (Relapse).
Simply put, if you like classic death metal, you will like this EP. It’s a six track onslaught of everything that makes this genre what it is. From the shredding guitars, throat tearing vocals, pounding drums and dark lyrical content; this band does it all so well. But this release does showcase a small issue with the band, that being that they really don’t have their own identity due to how much they rely on trying to bring back the sound of Death for a modern era.
Despite that one minor gripe though, this EP is a total banger. I can’t recommend it enough, and I hope this band grows into the beast they can become, but they will need to form a unique identity first.
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Gus Rios of Gruesome Talks Death Trivia
Gruesome made a lot of inroads with the release of their debut album Savage Land (out now via Relapse Records). Being that the members of the band are obviously huge fans of all things Chuck Schuldiner related, they also learned a number of secrets about their death metal hero while writing and recording their album.
Drummer Gus Rios elaborated on the subject:
“One of the things why, and I’m not giving away any of the trade secrets – a lot of what made Death what it was – I didn’t realize until I did this record. The way he put riffs one after another was very, very, very particular to Chuck. He had a very specific way that he arranges his songs and it wasn’t until I started recording that I was like – so that’s why this sounds so much like Death.”
“Matt [Harvey] unlocked the code. Technically Dan’s [Gonzalez] the better guitar player, but Matt is a musical genius. He knows a lot about songwriting and I actually called him and had a conversation about it. I’ve been listening to Death…what, almost 30 years now? It never dawned on me that Chuck used certain musical devices repeatedly. He wrote very specific riff stylings and again, it wasn’t until I did this that I [realized why] this shit was so good. That’s why this stuff sounds so much like that.”
While recording Savage Land, they recruited one time Death guitarist James Murphy to do a guest solo on a song. Being a friend of the band already, Rios felt having him participating on the Gruesome album and him giving them the ultimate thumbs up helped their credibility behind making such an album of music.
“One of the turning points of the band was when we were making the demos, I called James Murphy. I’ve been buddies with him forever. Death metal is a small genre. That’s the thing. If anybody’s a rock star in a death metal band, then you’re a fucking asshole. Nobody’s a rockstar.”
“Go across the street to that restaurant and ask anyone ‘do you know who Chuck Schuldiner is?’ They’re gonna go ‘who?’ Death metal’s a small little genre. So no one’s a rockstar. It’s a tight knit, everybody knows everyone, especially in Florida.”
“I called James and said ‘this is what I’m doing. It would be super cool if you could do a solo on it.’ Then he goes ‘alright. Send me the shit. Let me check it out.’ “
“Now it switched from James, my buddy to this is James fucking Murphy. This is the dude who was in Death. End period we’re trying to emulate. If he called me back and was like ‘this sucks’…abandon ship. It isn’t going to work.”
“Normally James texts me, but when my phone rings and I saw that it’s him – I hope he has something good to say. I answer it and he’s like ‘dude this is fucking killer!’ “
Having Murphy guesting on Savage Land was a huge honor for the Gruesome members. What meants a lot was also having the surviving members of Death also giving their blessing to them, which meant a lot to Rios.
“I remember we had a conversation about it and he was stoked. He was like ‘I loved the part you wanted me to solo. It’s perfect for what I wanted to do.’ I immediately called Matt and went ‘it’s on.’ James Murphy thinks we’re unsung good. If he thinks it’s good, dude it’s probably good. So that was a big turning point.”
“For guys like Terry [Butler] loves the band. For guys like that who were in the band and to be like ‘this shit is really good’…for us that’s like the seal of approval. Eric Greif – same thing. The guy managed Death forever and still manages all things Death and DTA. He was like ‘you guys are doing something good here. This is solid. I know you’re doing this from the right place and I know you guys love Chuck.’ It seems like all of the ducks are in a row. We’re all in this together. We all love Death. We sound enough like them obviously to love this. I love this.”
“We already have sort of the next three albums talked about and I guarantee you no one record will sound like the next.”
Lastly, he spoke about the Slayer cover of “Black Magic” found on the deluxe edition of Savage Land.
“The reason we did that was because Matt saw Death live in ’89 and they did that. Apparently that was one of Chuck’s favorite songs so that’s the back story on that. It was like ‘we should do some bonus tracks.’ We purposely did eight songs because Leprosy had eight songs. Spiritual Healing had eight songs.”
“There’s nothing that we did that Death did that we didn’t know very well. I produced the record and my motto was if it didn’t happen in ’88 then it ain’t gonna happen today. So aside from the two inch tape machine I couldn’t afford, I didn’t use a computer to edit drums. I used a microphone on a real guitar amp and played the songs all the way through. For the most part, I didn’t use a computer plug in to simulate a guitar. Some of those songs on the drums were one take all the way through. There are some parts that aren’t super perfect. I liked the whole performance. I feel good about it.”
“I remember when I first met Sean [Reinert] back in ’96. I started taking lessons with him. I’m worshipping him for Human and he’s like ‘that album’s riddled with fuck ups.’ I’m like I don’t hear any and he puts a CD in and goes ‘boom…boom…’ “
“Back in those days there was no computers. That’s the point. In those days you had to play your instrument. There was no getting around it. You had to play your shit. Sean was my teacher for about a year and a half before I moved here to LA. He’s changed so much the way I play drums, and we remain pretty much best friends to this day. To have him here tonight…it’s pretty cool.”
“He literally walked up and he was like ‘I’m here….this is your fault!’ The other night we played with Obituary and Don comes up to me and says ‘killer show. I made the old ladies jump.’ I said ‘I learned by watching you!’ It’s all full circle.”