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Exhumed: Necrocracy

A death metal masterclass from California’s resurrected veterans

Astute observers of the extreme metal underground over the last two decades should already be aware that few bands come close to Exhumed when it comes to flat-out ferocity and all-encompassing metallic purity.

Their second post-hiatus outing, Necrocracy again paints these Californian reprobates as guardians of both the sacred spirit of death metal and the notion of brutal music as a form of gleeful entertainment, with all the neck-threatening bursts of old school thrash abandon and Carcass-saluting twin-lead grandeur that such mastery entails.

In contrast to 2011’s All Guts No Glory, these songs steer clear of too much one-dimensional blasting and are far more memorable as a result, the Exhumed ethos of ultra-sharp song construction benefiting greatly from a more varied array of tempos and some of the most unashamedly traditional hooks and solos in recent memory.

Everything is delivered with utmost aggression and bug-eyed intensity, of course, from the twisted catchiness of Coins On The Eyes and The Shape Of Deaths To Come through to the pummelling Schuldiner-isms of (So Passes) The Glory Of Death and the dual-tempo bludgeon of The Rotting.

Dom Lawson has been writing for Hammer and Prog for 14 intermittently enjoyable years and is extremely fond of heavy metal, progressive rock, coffee and snooker. He listens to more music than you. And then writes about it.