“Metal of Death, to the Death!” The emphatic rallying cry of Indonesian death-lifers Exhumation is emblematic of their ride-or-die dedication to the old school. They have been sharpening their riffs since forming in 2008, reimagining vintage ’80s deathrash with songwriting instincts that build worlds instead of just setting them ablaze. Their third LP Eleventh Formulae is an invigorating hot-shot of ectoplasmic energy. The album unveils Exhumation’s artistic evolution, and does so without sacrificing the grit that has defined them for over a decade.
After the monstrous crescendo of the album’s introduction, “Mors Gloria Est” races the devil with crypt-corrupting leads into the slow-rot doom of “Inferno Dwellers.” That pace change doesn’t last for long, and the second track soon returns to Exhumation’s penchant for sweat-spackled speed. With passages of hellish noise separating those raucous blasts (“Formulae I: Malediction Bells”), the album never loses its wild-blooded menace and subsequent charm. The eerie expressions closing “Arcane Dance” are a perfect corridor to the delicate piano and haunted atmosphere of the next interlude. “Ominous Chants” rumbles out of a vortex of swirling nightmares before cruising to a late-song groove. “Blood Trails” may be the album’s highlight, pairing the record’s most infectious passages with fiery leads and a black ‘n’ roll thrust. Down to the unexpected Tribulation aura of its swaggering finale, Eleventh Formulae is death metal at its most primal elevated to near-perfect escapism.
With a sense of composition that unifies late-’80s Brazilian extremity and gothic horror, Exhumation have released a record that should turn heads so fast spines will snap. Listen to Exhumation’s Eleventh Formulae before its February 28th release from Pulverised Records below. Press play, and follow the sonic blood trails between each death opus.