Exhumed & Gruesome – “Twisted Horror” (Relapse)
Battle Helm Rating
It can’t be easy being the frontman of not one but two cult death metal bands. Forming Exhumed when he was just 15 years old, Matt Harvey has, over the years, taken his death metal outfit across 8 albums into becoming not just well known in the US but outrightly massive across Europe, being a recognised name at Wacken as well as headlining other smaller festivals like Fuck The Commerce and Obscene Extreme. In 2012, Harvey was added as a special guest vocalist on the all-star studded Death To All Tour taking place that year, and buoyed by its success, inspired him to form Gruesome, a death metal project explicitly asserted as a tribute to the legacy of Chuck Schuldiner’s legendary band, Death. With 2 albums already released to add to Exhumed’s own 9 releases, the inevitable split of “Twisted Horror” was bound to happen – and mightily delighted I am with it too! A 5 tracker with 3 brand new songs from Exhumed and 2 from Gruesome, this short but savage killer showcases the different old school death metal styles in utter excellence and authenticity as performed by an original purveyor of them! Smashing in with brutal flailing drum work, wild blurring guitars and screaming solos on ‘Buried To Die’, Exhumed’s death metal is not without sophistication in its subtle melodies and suave arrangements allowing for subtle melodies to add to some catchy hooks in making the song highly memorable. Indeed, this is the essence of Harvey’s successful formula of not just battering you, but leaving you all the more appreciative of it ha ha! Following up with the equally speedy ‘Dead, Deader, Deadest’ with its guitars shrieking so much you gotta wonder if there were enough frets left, it’s the catchy groove rolling along to the memorable chorus and Harvey’s own guttural roars that makes Exhumed’s music stand the test of time judging by the huge crowd recognition to their songs that I’ve witnessed time and again at festivals. Snaking in with its creepy, primitive riff played through dirty guitars, the snapping kick beat to ‘A Mind Decayed’ is immediately recognised in the style of Death in just about every regard from the music incorporating fast bursts of brutality mixed with slow headbanging passages as well as Harvey’s vocals that respectably reproduce Schuldiner’s own hollow growl to perfection – which, in fact, is exactly what Gruesome are all about. “Twisted Horror” is an unmissable release from the death metal master himself.