Madmen of Mutilation
CoC interviews Exhumed
by: Adrian Bromley
There are a lot of sick people in this world we live in. People that do awful things to children. People that don't have a care in the world or any regard for anyone but themselves. People who live on this planet just to fuck things up and have a jolly time doing it.

Then there is Exhumed.

Judging by the cover of Exhumed's latest grindcore/metal masterpiece _Gore Metal_, a horribly rude and disgustingly squeamish cover of bodies mutilated beyond recognition throughout a kitchen, it seems as though the four crazy fucks (let's see, there is Matt Harvey, Col Jones, Ross Sewage and Mike Beams) in the band would fit nicely into the characterisation of my first paragraph. They'd love it. That's just them, you see... Exhumed are Exhumed.

What you should know and just imbed into your forehead is that Exhumed play their music the way that they want to, with little concern for how others feel, and they could give two fucks about record sales. They mean nothing. In general, I don't usually take time to really wonder about people and their actions, but as I sit here and write about Exhumed, I wonder just what it's all about for them. Do they have a mission? What's with all of the grotesque take on things? Is it necessary? Of course it is. They are making a point. It's all about playing loud, aggressive music and having a shit-kickin' time doing it. Who cares how ya do it, just as long as you are doing it. Right? You bet.

As the interview begins, I actually take time to comment about the violent images pasted all over the album cover. It's sick and brutally rude. I ask guitarist/interviewee Matt Harvey "Whose sick idea was it to use those photos?" He laughs and says: "It was all our idea. We just wanted to fuck shit up." No shit. Good job, Holmes.

He continues: "It's Ross [Sewage, drummer] who took all the photos. That is actually my kitchen. We just went in there and messed stuff up. It was great fun. We all had an input in what you see within the artwork." In regards to many other genres (primarily black metal) boasting a certain image to uphold, Harvey comments, "I know what you're talking about. Let's just say you'll never see a forestry image on an Exhumed record. We just want to make the biggest fucking shit possible and this is it."

I tell Harvey about myself opening the CD sleeve on the subway and having people stare with a disgusted look, with me eventually putting away the CD slightly embarrassed. "Oh man. That's great", he says with a sense of accomplishment. "That is the way it should be. If people feel that way towards what they see or hear with our record, then we have done our job. We're not trying to upset a certain type or person or specific people in general, we're just trying to be ourselves. That's all we do. We play what we play and we do what we do. That's how it is with Exhumed. We've never really had a direction. We just go with the flow."

About the direction of their material with _Gore Metal_, he says in detail: "There are certain things on this record that could have been a lot better for us, but things could have been shittier. The record worked out for us. Some of the stuff here is real old, but I personally think this is the best thing that we have ever released. Everything worked out in the end."

"The reason that I am so happy and saying that this is our best release is the fact that you can tell we took the time to work on this in the studio. I mean, we used a proper studio this time and worked with a good producer. James Murphy [renowned guitar player and Testament member] was a great help for us. For once, there was at least one person who knew what he was doing, which is more than usual. I just think the songs really take shape into songs, rather than just all these noisy barrages of material. We have some good ideas here."

On the role of studio work, he comments: "It's such a pain in the ass. It's very tedious for the most part, but something you gotta do if you want to get a record out. It's so bad to be in there doing the guitar chords over and over like a thousand times. I really feel sorry for our drummer, though. Playing the same drum beat like five thousand times in a studio for five hours... I mean, being alone in a room with James Murphy while working on material is tough enough <laughs>, but five hours?! It's crazy, shit like that that really gets you, but I'll tell you it's a reward to get it out there and be happy with the product."

On the overall take of Exhumed and what they have done, Harvey tries to sum up Exhumed's role in helping shape metal music. "When we started up six or seven years ago, we were all part of what was going on. We were a typical band doing what everyone else was doing. But I look around nowadays and see all of the stuff out there and realize that we are all alone. We're still playing grinding death metal, singing about sick shit and all that 'cause we want to."

The topic of their label Relapse Records surfaces into the conversation. About their work with the label, Harvey juts in: "They are a great label to be working with. They are the only label that I want to be working with. Really. I look at all the other labels out there, like Century Media and Nuclear Blast, and they are some of the biggest fags out there. They jump on all of these trends and it makes me sick. Relapse has been going strong for the last few years, and I don't like everything they put out, but at least they don't jump on trends."

On band motivation and handling material and music, Harvey notes: "We really work hard to keep our writing going. We have done a few 7" splits this year and have been on a compilation or two. We just keep things going. It's great to be doing this. Sure, people might say that we put out shit, but at least we put out a lot of shit. Maybe it's not quality, but at least we have quantity on our side. I think it's really lame for bands to sit around and wait two years to put something out. It shouldn't be that way. It should be push, push, push with bands and their material. We need to keep the momentum going for the band. It's been great to do this and the underground support has really been a blessing for us. If we were to sit around and not tour or put out records or 7" or what have you, then it would be the dumbest thing to do."

"We have always had the same work ethics. We do very little mail outs and we're not too big in our scene here, but people seem to know about us. We went to Europe at the end of 1997 and people were coming up to us knowing all of our stuff. It blew me away, man. It was a new thing for us to experience. Our thoughts on the whole thing is if they know us it's great, and if they don't they will soon enough. <laughs>" You've all been warned. Exhumed are currently on tour.

Contact: Exhumed, c/o Pearly Penile Papules,

P.O. Box. 53432, San Jose, CA, USA, 95153

(article submitted 14/3/1999)

10/25/2000 A Bromley Exhumed: Gory Details From the Exhumed Cult
8/15/2003 J Smit 7.5 Exhumed - Anatomy Is Destiny
8/12/2001 P Schwarz Exhumed - Slaughtercult
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