For some idiotic reason I had forgotten how much I love Exhumed, but their latest, "All Guts, No Glory" (once more from Relapse Records), provided a firm reminder within seconds of its opening track. Including this album, I have over 100 different Exhumed tracks on my iPod, and in my younger days I collected a number of obscure selections from the ranks of their massive discography, too. I don’t exactly know what it is about a band that basically turned the whole "Carcass worship" thing into a bona fide genre, but I definitely latched onto Exhumed at some point in the 90’s and became a huge fan. This album proves without question that the band is still capable of cranking out "Symphonies of Sickness"-esque tunes with more energy, tighter musicianship, and better production. And, dare I say, "All Guts, No Glory" just might be the band’s best album yet. I mean, this thing is just crammed with fucking excellent songwriting. It never lets up. It’s got everything you’d expect based on the band’s history: Raging speeds, meaty riffs, slick melodic leads, an assortment of midrange snarls and guttural growls, etc. But whereas so many "gore grind" albums are just an indecipherable mishmash of interchangeable songs, Exhumed really developed over time, and this record perfectly demonstrates that fact. Not that Exhumed is "diverse" per se, but they’re really able to inject catchy and memorable songwriting elements into one of the most stripped down and primal corners of death metal. And that pays off huge here. The energy level maintained throughout the entirety of this album is most impressive. I’m just blown away. The production is damn near perfect, too. I’m sure there are some listeners that would prefer a little more of a "brutal" rawness, but… it’s crisp and warm without coming across as "polished" or anything like that, so I think this is the most efficient and balanced Exhumed has ever sounded. It’s so good… I’m all over this!
It looks like the vinyl is already sold out, but you can still grab both versions of the CD. The bonus tracks are available on iTunes, too, which is an awesome touch. There are four additional new tunes plus re-recorded versions of mid-period classics "Necromaniac" and "Forged in Fire (Formed in Flame)". Awesome.