A LOT OF BANDS will tell you that they don't listen to their own stuff. They also like to say that they only look to the future, not think about the past. Not so with Exhumed guitarist/vocalist Matt Harvey.
"I've always approached things from a fan perspective," Harvey says. "I'm one of those nerdy types who analyzes people's discographies, and it's only natural to put your own stuff under that same kind of scrutiny. Unfortunately, it makes for a situation where it's hard to let go of certain things that you're unhappy with, like our first album. It's still fucking bothering me 15 years later."
Featuring Carcass-inspired goregrind and vintage death metal, the original Gore Metal is a classic. And like the first Carcass album, it sounds like shit. To fix what's bothering him, Harvey & Co. went back and rerecorded their 1998 debut, Gore Metal, which has just been released as Gore Metal: A Necrospective, 1998-2015.
Harvey—who's been the lone constant of the San Jose band since it got its start in 1990—says he would have settled for a simple remixed and remastered version of the original, but the master tapes have long since been lost. James Murphy, former guitarist in both Death and Obituary, originally produced Gore Metal when he was suffering from a brain tumor.
"At the time, his behavior was really erratic," Harvey explains. Murphy got evicted from his home studio in Oakland before returning to Florida to receive treatment. He eventually recovered, but the tapes are still missing.
The new Gore Metal stays true to the original in that none of the songs have been overhauled (both versions are included in the Necrospective). The performances are a little cleaner, but the biggest difference with the new version is that now you can hear everything.
Revisiting the simpler riffs of the olden days has reaffirmed Exhumed's love for decidedly non-technical metal.
"I want to focus more on music I'd like to listen to rather than music I'd like to play, which are two different things," says Harvey. "We want to progress and we want to evolve, but we also never want to stray too far. We are a genre band, and that's totally okay. When you name your first album Gore Metal, it's a commitment."