Exhumed have been the undisputed masters of gore metal since they emerged from San Jose, California at the turn of the 1990s and over their career, (a career that takes in eight albums and many EPs/splits) the bands no nonsense and splatter friendly metal has entranced and entertained so many fans and continues to do so on their eighth and latest platter Death Revenge.
Despite being eight albums deep in their career, Death Revenge is a first for the band, being that it is their first concept album with the album being about the infamous Edinburgh graverobbers Burke & Hare (check out their story and see why the band chose this to make the album about them) and the tale of those two miscreants is definitely perfect storytelling material for Exhumed. In keeping with that concept factor is the the fact that the whole album is played out like a movie with the intro to the album, Death Revenge Overture the effect opening salvo with its chilling strings setting the scene for the carnage to come.
This sinister Introduction that pays tribute to the classic scores of legendary horror directors like Dario Argento, Lucio Fulci and definitely John Carpenter (there are shades if the Halloween theme about this intro) and after the scene has been set, wharf follows in a masterclass of gore soaked death metal.
Songs like Defenders Of The Grave, Nightwork and Unspeakable the gruesome twosomes deadly deeds in bloody detail all soundtracked by Exhumeds precise and brutal metal. Gravemakers Of Edinburgh is an unsettling instrumental interlude at the halfway point and fits in perfectly to the album before the metallic onslaught continues with the furious grind of The Harrowing, a mud paced smash of a track that explodes towards the end with some killer guitar work. The stunning The Anatomy Act Of 1832 is the albums high point, a brilliantly executed mixture of pure death metal and orchestral majesty that creates a very intimidating atmosphere for Exhumed to unleash hell on, the song is an epic one that is executed with style and ends with a creepiness that out creeps the rest if the album with glee.
Death Revenge concludes with the full throttle Incarnadined Hands and the blast of the albums title track before Death Revenge Underture, a continuation of the intro finishes things off the way it began and you can feel the chills on your body long after you have finished listening to it.
Matt Harvey and the rest of Exhumed are in fine form throughout and the results are impressive, even from a band with the reputation of Exhumed with the heaviness remaining of course but the album still sounds accessible and the production sounds amazing.
If there was ever another version made of the Burke & Hare story made into a movie, they have already found the soundtrack here although it would have to be a complete gorefest to match up with the savagery of this album. With Death Revenge, Exhumed have upped the ante when it comes to their masterful take on metal with this gory tale perfect material for the band to unleash their savagery and with Death Revenge, they gave created one of the metal albums of the year.
An immersive and essential listen.