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Exhumation – Opus Death

Opus Death
by Tim Bolitho-Jones at 27 May 2015, 10:03 AM

If you’ve ever bought an Extreme Metal album before, you’ll have already heard this one. Rapid fire guitar riffs, eldritch melodies and vocals that sound like ROBERT SHAW’s nails scratching down a blackboard with a shark picture on it, EXHUMATION do nothing that a hundred other bands haven’t done since Death Metal first clawed its way into the wretched world. The odd instrumental aside, this Indonesian three-piece seem to have no interest in anything but playing the fastest, gnarliest music they can, but that isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

In fact, one surprising fact about "Opus Death" is that it’s actually quite fun. You won’t pick it up on the first listen, or even the fifth, but after about six spins you start to notice just how enthusiastically they’re playing. Even in the grimmest and heaviest moments, you get a real sense that they were grinning from ear to ear all through the recording process and probably had a right knees-up when they were finished. That might be difficult to believe the first time the monstrous introduction to "Soul Wanders" blasts out of the speakers but stick with it and the cracks in the otherwise uninviting façade begin to appear.

Take "Graveyard Alike" for instance, a song that flips between full throttle pummelling and a more mid-paced stomp. It’s a brutal and oppressive number, but the power chords have a passion behind them and there’s adrenaline coursing through every note. It’s Death Metal that was recorded by three guys who are overjoyed to be making an album.

And for most of the forty minute running time, EXHUMATION rarely deviate from their charnel house violence. "Witching Evil", "The Possessed" and "Labyrinth Of Fire" are all equally nasty and feature some excellent musicianship. The guitar playing is especially good, axe-man Ghoul (probably not his real name) being impressively adept at both crunching riffs and melancholic solos.

That being said, the lack of any real originality in "Opus Death" prevents it being an essential purchase for anyone except the most committed fans of sonic extremity. Even their label seem to recognise this, as they make a point on their website of how much they sound like MAYHEM, though they blur the lines between Black and Death far more than Attila Csihar and his merry bunch ever do. It does undersell them a bit, but the truth is EXHUMATION do nothing to make them stand out besides downing a few more energy drinks before playing. If you love Death Metal, have a few spare quid and need something new for the morning commute though, you could do a lot worse.

3 Star Rating

1. Soul Wanders
2. Upon Our Hordes
3. Witching Evil
4. The Possessed
5. The Sleeping Darkness
6. Graveyard Alike
7. Labyrinth Of Fire
8. Ironheart
9. Hymn Of Death
10. Lullabyss
Grave – Bass
Bones – Vocals
Ghoul - Guitars
Record Label: Dunkelheit Produktionen


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