Wednesday November 15 saw the return of gore metal masters Exhumed at San Diego’s Brick By Brick. Since their tour package consisted of them and Arkaik, local support from Condemned and Beekeeper filled out the bill. The latter played to a decent crowd and cranked out fast-as-a-bee riffs. The band has grown a following opening for solid tour packages and recently released their debut “Slaves To The Nothing.” The thrashin’ three-piece had a lively energy and seems promising as an up-and-coming band.
As it turns out, all the bands playing had released albums this year, so Condemned’s new tracks were a fresh addition to their set. Brutal vox and crushing palm mutes built the quartet a wall of sound that got heads banging and fists in the air. Unfortunately, the drum triggers were too loud and took away from what was an otherwise ferocious performance. Nevertheless, Condemned threw down a gauntlet the next band simply couldn’t pick up.
Almost as if Arkaik heard Condemned’s triggers as a challenge and thought, “Ours can go louder than that,” the Riverside tech death ensemble’s set was obnoxiously overpowered by noisy triggers, repetitive breakdowns, and sweeping. My god the sweeping. The drummer’s apathetic facial expressions didn’t help the audience vibe with their music, or their M.I.A. bass player. I do admire Arkaik’s initiative to diversify their fan base by playing in front of different crowds, and I do hope the tour goes well for them, but overly-dropped tunings and laptop programming made their set difficult for those waiting to hear the headlining Carcass worshippers.
And then the headlining Carcass worshippers came on and wrecked shit. Fresh off the buzz of their own coffee and their ambitious concept record “Death Revenge,” Exhumed wound up playing the first five songs of the record throughout their performance. It was the band’s first night of the tour and the stage was set with dim lighting, low-hanging fog, and a wooden casket reading “GORE FUCKING METAL” in spray paint. After blaring synth-heavy intro music, the catchy “Defenders of the Grave” got the Wednesday night audience moving. This touring lineup did have some adjustments to the usual members: Noisem guitarist Sebastian Phillips and Coffin Dust bassist (and occasional Exhumed bassist) Matt Slime filled in for Bud Burke and Ross Sewage, respectively. Fortunately this didn’t subtract from their show in the slightest as their chemistry had them dismembering on all cylinders.
In addition to the new material, Exhumed also introduced new stage theatrics which included but was not limited to: severed limbs, rotating sawblades, and rusty tools. Lyrics about intestines, dead flesh, and gore saturated Brick’s speakers; meanwhile their instruments were distorted and twisted into satisfying form. Frontman/bonefucker Matt Harvey screamed and shredded the way only a man whose life is committed to death metal can. Fuck! Hallowed hits like “Torso” and “Casketcrusher” were a dynamic contrast from the melodic new songs, ultimately crafting a comprehensive and diverse arrangement of tunes. This was my third time seeing Exhumed just this year and somehow these disinterred cannibals continue to expel auditory carnage that keeps us wanting more and screaming bloody gore.