Near the end of last year, Exhumed was touring across North America while honking their latest album All Guts, No Glory, a ripping corpse of a record that was one of 2011ís finest. Before they took the stage at the Cheyenne Saloon in Las Vegas, founder/guitarist/vocalist Matt Harvey and guitarist Wes Caley took quite a bit of time out of their day to chat with Blistering.com. Yes, this interview took place a few months back but hectic schedules and a lack of time are a mother. Either way, the interview was lively and entertaining and for two guys who write such revoltingly disgusting songs, itís amazing at how funny and full of chuckles they are. EnjoyÖ
Blistering.com: Exhumed recently released All Guts, No Glory. Itís a monster from start to finish. Itís hard to say whether itís Exhumedís best album to date because theyíve all been strong. However, All GutsÖ maintains that clean-yet-raw sound that was on Anatomy is Destiny. Do you feel that the new one is the best one youíve done?
Matt Harvey: I think itís our best record. I mean, we wouldnít have done a new record if we didnít think we could do our best record. We didnít sit around and try to think about what we should do per se, but we did try and encapsulate the first three records and try to coalesce that into something more cohesive. I thought that Slaughtercult was real straight and to the point, and then AnatomyÖ was more overwrought but it had some cool technical and melodic stuff. We tried to really combine those two and make the best record we could. I think itís our best one but I get stoked when someone has any of our albums as their favorite. Itís all a matter of tastes and sometimes when youíre a kid or a teenager, the right album at the right time hits you and no matter what thatís going to be your favorite. So I think itís great if anybody has a favorite record of ours.
Blistering.com: Every review that Iíve read about All GutsÖ has been positive. I canít recall coming across one that was negative toward the album.
Harvey: Yeah the response has been very positive, not that that stuff ever matters much to us. But itís cool. You canít help but watch it because you see things on sites or people send you emails about it. Ultimately we make records to please ourselves and if other people like them, thatís like a bonus for us. You know, the first record we didnít like at all, even when we made it. But this time itís really cool because we have a record that we are happy with and simultaneously other people are happy with as well.
Blistering.com: I deal with a lot of fighters here in Vegas and youíd be surprised that even though they can kick pretty much everybodyís asses, many of them are real sensitive to criticism.
Harvey: [laughs] Really? Thatís funny!
Blistering.com: What about you or the rest of Exhumed? Were you ever at any point hurt or sensitive by criticism?
Harvey: Well, hereís my thing: Iím totally cool if people donít like the band. But I guess what pisses me off is when people donít ďget it.Ē Thatís what infuriates me. Iím cool with people who say they get it but think itís stupid. But when people say things like weíre just trying to be Cannibal Corpse or whatever, thatís just not the case. I mean, I love Cannibal Corpse and Iíve got immense respect for them, but thatís not where our influences are at all. If people say [Exhumed] know their thrash and they know early Earache but this is just stupid, thatís cool because at least they understand where our influences are. To me, we are more a mix of Slayer, DRI, Cryptic Slaughter or Canadian stuff like Razor or Sacrifice mixed with Terrorizer, Entombed, Napalm Death and Carcass. As long as people get that and still donít like us, thatís great. But when someoneís like, and I read this review once, we sound like early Aborted, well, no, thatís wrong. Early Aborted actually soundedÖ likeÖ us. Itís cool because I like Aborted; theyíre friends of mine, but the truth is that Aborted was influenced by bands like us and Impaled and shit like that.
Thatís the kind of shit that frustrates me. If you donít like it, I donít give a fuck. Like what you want but at least know what weíre about. Itís not like a fighter where youíre training for months and months and you get into the best shape for, what, fifteen minutes of hand-to-hand combat. You have months of blood, sweat and tears only to get picked apart for something you did wrong. So no, itís not that personal to us. In a fight, someone wins and someone loses. For us, we donít win or lose; itís just a matter of taste.
Blistering.com: Speaking of comparisons, you guys are always compared to Carcass. I read it everywhere and hell; you do sound quite a bit like Carcass. That has to get old after a while, though, reading/hearing the comparisons virtually every time something is written about Exhumed.
Harvey: [laughs loudly] Well, hereís the thing about me, and I love Carcass. I absolutely love them and they were one of the bands that crystallized us in starting to do what we do and this is what, twenty years ago now. More than 20 years ago because it was October 1990 when I first saw Carcass live. That sort of crystallized the direction of the band toward something heavier and more extreme. And Iím not going to sit here and tell you that weíre not heavily influenced by Carcass because thatíd obviously be bullshit. But I think thatís sort of lazy journalism because yes, we have a low vocalist and a high vocalist; we use words with more than three syllables sometimes; thereís a lot of gore in our songs. But riff for riff Ė and I know because I write the songs Ė come on. I donít write all of them but Iíve been present for all of them.
We have a ton of riffs. But we have way more Napalm Death riffs pound-for-pound than we do Carcass riffs and I think we are faster and more aggressive than Carcass has ever been. Thatís not to say that we are better or more original because that would certainly not be a true statement. But Iím used to it. When we did Slaughtercult, we did everything we could on purpose to try and avoid any riffs that sounded like Carcass. If any of us came up with a riff that sounded like Carcass, weíd throw it out. But when the record came out, everybody said it sounded like Carcass.
Blistering.com: I didnít think it did. Gore Metal certainly did, but not Slaughtercult. That album was much more straightforward.
Harvey: Exactly! I didnít think it did in the slightest. We are a grindcore band who uses thrash riffs. When we did AnatomyÖ we included all the riffs we came up that sounded like Carcass because no matter what we do, people will say it sounds like Carcass. It doesnít matter. If we recorded ourselves farting while playing polka, people will say it sounds like Carcass. We take it with a grain of salt and we think itís funny. There are a lot worse bands we can be compared to. They are one of my favorite bands and they certainly have the best lyrics in all of death metal. Thatís assuming anybody has a reading level above eighth grade. Thatís just an obvious, objective truth. So, to be compared to one of the greatest bands in the genre of all time? Not so bad.
Blistering.com: It was seven years between Anatomy is Destiny and All Guts, No Glory. Obviously there was the band member shifts and Exhumed vanished for a while. It must have been liberating for you to get the band as it is today and finally create enough music to release.
Harvey: For me, honestly when we split up in 2005, I had no intentions of ever playing in this band again. I was done. But as time went on, I realized that we kind of went out on a real lame note. Yeah we did the record and then we did some covers and a split. Even if we never did anything else, it was a weak note to end on. Now, we are already planning the next record and we are planning on touring next summer (2012) so we are a full functioning band. Itís good to know that no matter what happens now, we know that itís not just going to fizzle out or fade away like it did before. That wasnít how I really wanted it, you know?
Exhumed live bassist/vocalist Bodybag Bob (Gravehill, ex-Deception) purposely bumps into both of us, who are standing next to their touring van.
Bodybag Bob: Oh, excuse me guys. Iím just trying to get a beer [laughs].
Blistering.com: Whatís interesting is that Exhumed is sort of like a new band today, yet you still sound just like you did, for the most part, before the initial split.
Harvey: Yeah, itís kind of like a new band with new members, though Wes was with us since before the split. I donít know, one year or something before the split.
Wes Caley[guitars, who jumped right into the conversation after purposely bumping into us as well]: Yeah, I was there before the, you know, ďhiatus.Ē
Harvey: He played with us on the covers album.
Caley: And the split with Ingrowing? Come on! You know, that littleÖ tiny CD. The little nipple.
Harvey: [laughs] Yeah that little nipple of a CD! So, itís not really a ďnewĒ band. Leon [Del Morte], who plays bass on the record, also played guitars with us in Ď96/97. The he played bass again in 2001, then bass again from í03 to í05. Then Danny [Walker] played drums for a few different tours for AnatomyÖ
Caley: But this is Dannyís first recording [session] with us, though. Right?
Harvey: Right. So, it might seem like a new band to other people but to me, itís really the same old gang of idiots, really. Hereís the thing: it wasnít designed to be a nostalgia trip and to get all the original members together. Weíre trying to just continue on from what we were doing before. Weíre all still friends with Col [Jones, drums] and Mike [Beams, guitars/vocals] and Bud [Burke, bass/vocals] and Ross [Sewage, vocals/bass]; all the guys that were in the band back in the day. So, weíre just a band trying to move forward and not live in the past or try to ride on our own coattails.
Caley: The whole thing started as a joke. I donít know if you told him that yetÖ?
Harvey: No, no! I havenít gotten to that yet [laughs]!