San Jose’s Exhumed takes a lot of inspiration from British death metal legends Carcass. Not just in sound, but trajectory: Both started out as gore-obsessed grindcore groups that grew more melodic and political without losing sight of perversity.
Fifth proper studio LP Necrocracy, released last year on Relapse, finds the band seasoning its tales of butchery with dystopian politics. Vocalist/guitarist Matt Harvey, Exhumed’s sole original member, emailed about the album.
“I had the title Necrocracy, which I thought was just an exceedingly clever term that I nicked from Christopher Hitchens’ God Is Not Great book, and it just kind of became the centerpiece of the album concept. I kind of went a little overboard in 2012, reading The Economist and The Atlantic and watching The Daily Show every day, brushing up on The Zinn Reader.”
While Carcass has shed a lot of its hardcore origins, those roots still show in Exhumed’s matted hair. Their split with Municipal Waste side-project Iron Reagan, released earlier this month on Tankcrimes, features covers of Negative Approach’s “Ready to Fight” and Minor Threat’s “Seeing Red.” Played through Exhumed’s unwashed fingers, there’s an element of joy not seen in much death metal.
“To me, hardcore and punk were omnipresent when I was a kid. The only ‘metal’ people at my school were into Dokken and stuff, so I hung out with skateboarders and punk rockers,” he writes. “I was getting into stuff like Venom, Onslaught, Celtic Frost, S.O.D., and shit like that on my own and then getting exposed to D.I., Exploited, Dead Kennedys, Angry Samoans and shit like that. It’s always gone hand in hand as far as I’m concerned.”
Mohawk’s bill – Toxic Holocaust, Exhumed, Mammoth Grinder, and Ramming Speed – is free to everyone over 21. The complete Matt Harvey interview here.– Andy O’Connor