Matt Harvey has a penchant for death metal. His songwriting and guitar playing have been at the forefront of the gore movement for the better part of 25 years with Exhumed. Although he has been occupied of late with side projects Gruesome and Expulsion, Death Revenge shows that Exhumed haven’t been far from his thoughts. The album is a bit different than anything they’ve released. The songwriting reaches a new high, not to mention it is a concept album (their first) centered on murders and grave robberies in 1820s Scotland.
“Death Revenge Overture” opens the album with a classical intro befitting of a horror movie, which leads into “Defenders of the Grave.” This is what Exhumed does best, boasting razor-sharp riffs, guttural vocals, and blast beats! What more could a metal fan ask for? “Lifeless” is just as brutal and in your face, but it takes on an air of melody. I dare say that Harvey’s songwriting skills have been sharpened by his time spent in Death-worshippers Gruesome learning from Chuck Schuldiner’s back catalog, and it shows here.
“Dead End” has a killer guitar solo in the middle of the song that builds to a brutal crescendo! “Night Work” is a bit slower with a very cool vibe, and “Gravemakers of Edinburgh” offers listeners a short and spooky classical break. Fans are quickly thrown back in the pit with “The Harrowing,” a more traditional Exhumed sounding ditty. “A Funeral Party” is one of those songs that grabs you by the jugular and never lets go with vocals that are absolutely brutal. “The Anatomy Act of 1832” is another classical, horror-themed instrumental; however, this seven-plus-minute song takes you on an adventure that truly showcases the talents of these musicians! The title track takes the album out in grand fashion with a frenzied pace and dark overtones that make this my favorite track here.
Exhumed have stuck to a formula they know and serves them well on past releases, but on Death Revenge, they take a chance that pays off in spades.
Death Revenge is out now on Relapse Records. Buy it here!