Somewhere between death metal going progressive and grindcore going political, the metal world lost their grip on gore metal. At one time, this murky extreme-metal subgenre ruled the underground, and only the coolest (and fattest) misanthropes rocked obscene medical photographs on their oversized T-shirts. But thankfully, through constant line-up changes and multiple hiatuses, Exhumed never forgot. All Guts, No Glory may only be the band’s sixth full-length in their two-decade-long existence (not counting the endless splits, EPs, and so on), but it perfectly personifies the mix of death, grind, and thrash that made us love bands like Avulsed, Aborted, and Impaled.
The opening title track is a moody if predictable intro, but gives way to bilious rager “As Hammer To Anvil.” From there on, it’s one blood-drenched execution after another: “Through Cadaver Eyes” blasts moodily forward with a heavy death-metal tread, while “Death Knell” swings meathook guitar leads over thick, filthy breakdowns. “Distorted and Twisted Into Form” rides an awesomely melodic thrash riff through thorough beatdowns of breakneck percussion. Vocalist/guitarist/only-founding-member-left Matt Harvey’s layered bellows and shrieks are spectacular at the times they’re properly implemented, though the ear sometimes begs for a bit more of his old-school Dying Fetus–esque pig snort. Closer “So Let It Be Rotten…So Let It Be Done” seals this wound of an album with a final catchy tug of the suture.
What makes an album like All Guts, No Glory so awesome is its dedication to entertaining what could be considered a built-in audience. Casual listeners won’t find much groundbreaking musical progression here, but how many casual listeners will buy it? Metalheads uninterested in gore worship will overlook it, but fans of dripping blood, gaping autopsies, and ravenous zombies will absolutely adore this record. Gore lives. CHRIS KROVATIN