Exhumed & Gruesome – Twisted Horror (Split Review)

Death Metal is ready to breathe new life this summer in some newfound ways. One of which is the June 5th arrival of a unique split called Twisted Horror on Relapse Records, featuring California natives Exhumed and multi-state enthusiasts Gruesome.

Both bands are led by Vocalist/Guitarist Matt Harvey, and the talented musician goes all out with his double duty to bring a taste of both bands into one split album totaling five tracks. The name of which, Twisted Horror, brings in elements from both band’s latest albums, Exhumed’s 2019 LP Horror, and Gruesome’s 2018 release Twisted Prayers. Complete with a colorfully gruesome and chaotic album cover featuring a chainsaw being put to a man in a tuxedo’s head, Twisted Horror is guaranteed to be on brand.

As a stand out new addition, and a way for fans to grasp the energy of both Exhumed and Gruesome, the Twisted Horror collection starts off with an exotic and wild Exhumed track, titled “Rot Your Brain.” At over four minutes long, this track certainly exemplifies the range of maddening riffs involved. Next up, a short track called “Buried To Die” ransacks the listeners’ ears.

Racing on in all its deathgrind glory is the next track, “Dead, Deader, Deadest,” which takes speed-driven Death riffs to a new level, as well as cashes in on unusual vocabulary. Following this is pure Gruesome with a more classic Death-driven tune, “A Mind Decayed,” which fuels every fire in the sky with its brilliance. As the longest song on the album at over five and a half minutes long, the task of bringing badass Metal to those ears bleeding for it is deemed accomplished!

Finalizing the short but brutality-charged album is the track “Let Me Into The Dark,” which puts Harvey’s vocal range to great use in all its guttural glory. Although both Exhumed and Gruesome have definite similarities besides just a shared member, they are also very different, stylistically. Perhaps the most accomplished feature of both bands is their different guitar styles, equally defying gravity in their musical accomplishments. Clearly, all flows as it should with the melding of the two musical entities into this one, fine work of art.

Considering that Harvey spends most of his time in L.A ., while the other members of Gruesome reside in Florida, the challenges of long distance recording appear to have been easily defied throughout the LP. With much skill and talent, Harvey succeeds in bringing unity in Death Metal to life. One day these bands will hit the road again, once life calms into some sort of normalcy, but until then it definitely is a unique treat to slap on this record to enjoy all that is Twisted Horror. For their great unification and expertise in the subgenres of Death Metal, Cryptic Rock gives this split from Exhumed and Gruesome a 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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