Exhumed – Gore Metal

Postmortem Procedures
The Making of Exhumed’s Gore Metal

In 1998, there was some thrilling, forward-thinking game-changing happening in extreme underground metal. The Dillinger Escape Plan were storming the scene, making us rethink what was humanly possible on instruments, Nile were animating death metal’s mummified corpse and Nasum were blasting excitement back into grindcore.

Then there was Exhumed.

The California-based goregrind/death metal outfit was on Relapse, the same label as the aforementioned trailblazers, but I distinctly recall getting promotional material for Gore Metal when it came out and noticing very much how it stuck out. These guys weren’t looking forward, they were looking back—back to the first and second Carcass records, back to Repulsion and Autopsy, and, as far as the charming recording sound goes, back to some sort of prehistoric tar pit. But these are all the reasons why Gore Metal ruled when it dropped and why it still rules today, over 25 years later.

Songs: That’s another reason why Gore Metal works. As a genre, goregrind focuses on songs that are boppier and poppier than anyone would dare admit, and with Exhumed (at the time made up of vocalist/guitarist Matt Harvey, guitarist Mike Beams, bassist Ross Sewage and drummer Col Jones), I can spend years without listening to one of their records and still have “Forged in Fire” lodged in my fucking head.

That number is off 2000 follow-up Slaughtercult, where they refined their writing even further, but Gore Metal is where it all began, with goregrind earworms like “Necromaniac” and “Open the Abscess” bursting with hooks and song structures that you won’t soon forget. And that was precisely the idea.

The album also is of historic significance because it used its leverage on a label that was entering its peak era to shine light on this most neglected of subgenres, allowing like-minded bands like Impaled the chance to get a bit of extra attention. And don’t forget the obscene and extreme cover art; the original album title that Relapse wouldn’t agree to; the 2015 re-recording and how it changed the band’s trajectory… There’s lots to get into here, so it’s time to throw the tripe to the wall (we’ve also got to get into that, unfortunately) and see what sticks. Today we’re happy to cover the Hall in carnage as we begin the procedure, pulling back the sheet on this most pungent of records, letting the blood fly free as it teaches us that anatomy is indeed destiny and that Gore Metal is indeed worthy of a place in our hallowed Hall. Just remember to scrub your hands afterwards.

Need more classic Exhumed? To read the entire seven-page story, featuring interviews with the members who performed on Gore Metal, purchase the print issue from our store, or digitally via our app for iPhone/iPad or Android.