Standing out in the current death metal scene must be difficult with so much good material from so many stand out artists. In an attempt to draw some focus onto their patch of blood sodden turf, Exhumed have attacked new album ‘Death Revenge’ from a slightly different angle, that of a concept piece – a place usually reserved for the more prog orientated bands – focused on the body harvesters in Edinburgh during Victorian times. As a side note for the inquisitive types, the Anatomy Act was a law passed in Britain that allowed doctors to perform anatomies on more than just dead criminal types, allowing the advancement of medical sciences.
The very cinematic opener ‘Death Revenge Overture’ is a startling piece of music that brings to mind a classic horror movie opening with its grand scope and eerie piano and string arrangement. Instantly noticeable on the next track ‘Defenders Of The Grave’ is the return of Ross Sewage who follows vocalist Matt Harvey’s drier rasp up with his bowel rattling deep guttural voice, making for a comfortable return to an earlier period of the band with a more brutal vocal approach.
It has to be said straight away that Exhumed are not here to throw anything new into their blender of macabre tales and solid death metal. The points of difference that make this album a great overall listening experience are the small instrumental pieces that open and are weaved throughout the album. ‘Grave-makers Of Edinburgh’ helps hold the narrative up in the middle while also allowing for a quick breather before Act II takes off while ‘The Anatomy Act of 1832’ begins in a similar vein and opens up to allow the blazing twin guitar assault of Harvey and Bud Burke to take centre stage and allow another break before the final act of the album batters you some more. With the bonus track on the digital edition of ‘Death Revenge Underture’ closing the album as cinematically as it opened, you can almost see the credits roll past.
The melodies hidden within are what will keep you going back to this, with the tight guitar interplay throughout holding the focus when the heaviness of the vocals begins to strain. ‘The Harrowing’ and ‘Lifeless’ are among the best examples of this. Death Revenge is another fine example of the quality of music that is being released by bands pushing for their patch in a crowded marketplace.
1. Death Revenge Overture
2. Defenders Of The Grave
4. Dead End
5. Night Work
7. Grave-makers of Edinburgh
8. The Harrowing
9. A Funeral Party
10. The Anatomy Act Of 1832
11. Incarnadined Hands
12. Death Revenge
13. Death Revenge Underture (Bonus Track)
14. A Lesson In Violence (Bonus Track)