Exhumed - Biography




1991 - 1992
Oozing forth from the most fetid crevasses of the seamy underbelly of the San Francisco Bay Area in the summer of 1991, the reeking entity collectively known simply as Exhumed was conceived by six-string sinew-shredder Matt Harvey and casket-krusher Col Jones. Jones and Harvey had been planning to make their acrid assault on the Metal scene since 1990, when they were in an abortive early incarnation of Exhumed with fellow high school sophomores Rocky Torrecillas and Peter Rossman. Exhumed began to play Grindcore/Death Metal (as opposed to the more Kreator/Death-influenced direction favored originally) as an outgrowth of Harvey and Jones' other project, Constipated Gut, which began as a result of the duo's obsessive admiration for the initial slew of Earache releases.

Three extremely amateurish Constipated Gut rehearsal tapes were recorded, with Jake Giardina providing the vocals- "Infestation of Grubs", "Lack of Laxatives", and "Finger Lickin' Good". After these tapes helped to spur the adoption of a more extreme bent to the direction of Exhumed, Rossman and Torrecillas quickly jumped ship in early 1991. The first proper incarnation of the band was filled out that August by splatter-axe wielder Derrel Houdashelt and grue-gurgler Jake Giardina, and that line-up recorded the initial Exhumed rehearsal tape before adding festering four-stringer Ben Marrs that October. After securing a full line-up, the band began to air their grotesque wares in a live setting in October 1991. By January of 1992, the crew of deranged degenerates had excreted their initial demo offering "Dissecting the Caseated Omentum". The demo led to live shows supporting nefarious national acts such as Cannibal Corpse, Entombed, and Autopsy, furthering the band's loathsome reputation in the Bay Area Metal scene. By May of the same year, the band had been contacted by After World Records to secrete a 7" EP of new material. The result was the "Excreting Innards" EP, graced by gruesome cover art by none other than Stevo from Impetigo. More live appearances followed, including local support of Morbid Angel, Sadus, Master, and innumerable local shows with California underground acts such as Immortal Fate, Plutocracy, Phobia, Mindrot, and lesser known bay area bands like Colostomy, Enucleation, Burial, Bonesaw, and many others. In October, the band returned to the studio, to record what was intended to be a full-length album for Afterworld Records, to have been called "Goregasm". Shortly after the recording session, Afterworld Records folded, and the rancid recording remains for the most part unreleased to this day as only a few copies were made sporadically as demo cassettes. That year, the band saw the first of what would be many line-up-changes, with the dismissal of Ben Marrs, and Jake Giardina's move to handling both dialectic disgorgement and low-end laceration.

1993 - 1994
In the spring of 1993, the band recorded their septic second proper demo, "Grotesque Putrefied Brains", and their first recording as a four-piece. The abhorrent demo was not as widely distributed through the underground as "Dissecting…" had been, and shortly after its recording and a local live appearance supporting the Suffocation/Dismember/Vader tour, Jake Giardina left the band to pursue less putrescent pastures. The remains of the band endeavored to found a new line-up for most of the year, and enlisted the aid of gore throat Mark Smith, from local band Burial. Also from the recently disbanded Burial, Jeff Saffle joined the band as bottom-end bowel-rumbler briefly in 1993. During the fetid few live appearances the band made that year, session bassist Kevin Flaherty handled the four-stringed flatulence. With the aid of Mark Smith, the band returned to the bowels of the studio to record the horrid "Cadaveric Splatter Platter" demo. Recorded in haste, the demo was only scantly circulated throughout the underground, and the band continued to look for new lunatics to commit themselves to the crepitated cause of Exhumed. In early 1994, four-string noise maestro Matt Widener was excavated at a local show, and was quickly enlisted into the rancid rogues' gallery of the band.

Next, Ross Sewage undertook the virulent vocal duties for Exhumed after helping resurrect the Constipated Gut project by lending his vocals to the 1994 "Without Shit, We are Nothing" rehearsal tape. By November of 1994, the band had decomposed enough material for yet another deranged demo tape, "Horrific Expulsion of Gore". Showcasing a far more macabre and puissant approach than any of the band's puerile previous material, the demo was circulated rigorously throughout the underground, as over 1000 tapes and one broken dubbing cassette player will attest. The band also appeared on the "Deterioration of the Senses" CD compilation, Exhumed's first venture into the CD format.

1995 - 1996
The ensuing time period was filled with lurid and livid live activity that saw Exhumed spearheading a new, D.I.Y. based wave of local Death Metal acts that would include Pale Existence, Infanticide, Gory Melanoma, and a handful of other Death Metal acts. Shows were booked in the basement of a public library, often alongside bands from the Hardcore/Powerviolence scene such as Noothgrush, Spazz, and Agents of Satan. 1995 also saw the band begin to punctuate their sickening lyrics with on-stage spectacles of putridity and debauchery. Between Col's drum set draped in pig entrails, Ross' self-mutilation, Matt spitting out still-wriggling earthworms, and the entire band spewing real blood all over themselves and the stage, Exhumed quickly earned the enmity of many local promoters. Supporting Pungent Stench/Brutal Truth/Acid Bath and Incantation/Kataklysm, the band remained constantly active within the Bay Area Metal scene.

Tracks for a compilation to have been called "Cannibal Holocaust" were recorded, though the compilation never saw the light of day. A split live tape with Spanish gore-gods Haemorrhage was recorded live at the KFJC radio studio at Foothill College. The band was contacted by fledgling label Visceral Productions to produce a split CD with Ohio grinders Hemdale. The offer was instantly accepted, and the band set about decomposing the material. Before Exhumed would enter the studio however, basscyst Matt Widener was given the axe. In August 1995, the Exhumed material for the split was recorded, with Ross assuming chunk-blower bass duties as well as his gore-grating gurgulations. This streamlined line-up proved to be more disgusting than ever for the band, resulting in their most repugnant work thus far. The split, christened "In the Name of Gore" would be released, after numerous delays, the following year. In the interim, the band recorded a split 7" EP, "Blood and Alcohol", with Pale Existence, for 625 productions, as well as a track, "Intercourse with a Limbless Cadaver" for the "Orchestrated Chaos" CD compilation. During the "Orchestrated…" recording session (which not coincidentally, was engineered by Kris Berlin, formerly of the band Enucleation, and co-writer of the Exhumed track of the same name) a never-released cover of Venom's "Schizo" was recorded, which was the initial inkling of Jones and Harvey's burgeoning 1980's Thrash obsession. In Spring 1996, co-founding axe-grinder Derrel Houdashelt was then cleaved from the band, due to his growing commitments elsewhere. He had already been absent from the live line-up more than once, and the first time, he was replaced by long-time friend of the band Dan Martinez, with the also unavailable Widener replaced by Pale Existence guitarist Lorin Ashton.

Houdashelt's long-term replacement was ex-Infanticide scalpel-swinger Leon del Muerte, who had already filled in for Derrel that year at the band's first show in Los Angeles. In the fall of 1996, the feruncle feasting foursome of Harvey, Jones, Sewage, and del Muerte recorded triturating tracks for the 4 way split compilation (also featuring Ear Bleeding Disorder, Excreted Alive, and Necrose) "Chords of Chaos" for Lofty Storm Productions in Brazil.

1997 - 1998
The band continued to work towards recording a new album for Visceral Productions, which was planned to go by the moniker of "Gore Metal". Morbid material was constantly being dissected and decomposed, between the band's frequent live appearances. A track for the "Accidental Homicide" 7" compilation series was recorded, as well as an early version of the track "Enucleation". There was also a live radio appearance on the Loyola Merrymount University radio station recorded during this period. Due to mounting internal tensions, del Muerte was dismissed from his disgusting duties, and the band carried on as a truncated trio. Undaunted by their slimming line-up, Exhumed recorded two split 7" EP's, "Instruments of Hell" with Skate-core act No Comply, and "Indignities to the Dead", a split with de-tuned Grindcore merchants Pantalones Abajo Mereneros in 1997. The band then supported Mortiis in San Francisco, before heading to Europe to take part in the Grind Over Europe II tour. Joined by Hemdale and German Grindcore guerillas Nyctophobic, Exhumed toured through Germany, the Czech Republic, Holland, and Belgium, sharing the stage with Agathocles, Vomitory, Deranged, Murder Corporation, Utopie, and many others. Due to the dissolution of Visceral Productions, the band was now label-less, but Multi-Death Corporation Relapse Records stepped in, and talks began to release "Gore Metal" on Relapse. After realizing the lugubrious limitations of the trio format in the live situation, the band enlisted the services of yet another ex-Burial member, fleshredder Mike Beams to re-complete the cadaverous quartet. After laying two more split 7" EP's to rest, "Tales of the Exhumed" with Retaliation and "Totally Fucking Dead" with Nyctophobic, the band entered the suppurated studio in August to record "Gore Metal", their first full-length album. The recording sessions were aided by the timely intervention of guitar guru James Murphy, who mixed the record. "Gore Metal" was released that October to the disgust of music lovers everywhere.

1999 - 2000
With the release of "Gore Metal" the festered foursome emerged from their decrepit crypts to appear at the first March Metal Meltdown festival in New Jersey, and then in April at the New England Metal and Hardcore festival in Massachusetts, the band's first US festival appearances. Though both appearances were highly successful, they began to exacerbate already internecine internal tensions between Ross Sewage and the rest of the band. When Relapse magnanimously offered the band a spot on the label's first tour, 1999's Contamination tour with Soilent Green, Today is the Day, Morgion, and Nasum, it became clear that it would have to be done with a different basscyst. Sewage was left to pursue his activities in his other band, Impaled, which at the time also featured ex-Exhumed member Leon del Muerte, on a full-time basis. For the band's first show without Sewage, a small festival show in Fort Collins, Colorado, with Macabre, Cephalic Carnage, and Fleshgrind, guitarist Sean McGrath of Impaled was ironically enlisted to fill the vacant bass position, but the band still needed a festering full-time member. Through an unlikely series of crepitated coincidences, ex-Pale Existence guitarist Bud Burke came in contact with the band, quickly accepted their obsequious offer, and joined the repulsive ranks of Exhumed as a session member. Burke's virulent ability to projectile vomit on command was a boon to the band's livid and lascivious live show, as audiences at the 1999 Milwaukee Metalfest found out at Bud's first appearance with the band. Throughout the tour, the band grew tighter and more lethal, garnering a grotesque reputation as one of the more malignant live bands in the Extreme Metal scene. By spring 2000, the band had amassed enough material to re-enter the studio for yet another festered full-length album. In the meantime, tracks were recorded for tribute compilations for King Diamond, Impetigo, and Carcass, as well as tracks for two new split EP's, one with German splatter-merchants Sanity's Dawn, and one with Swedish Goregrind machine Regurgitate. The EP with Sanity's Dawn was released on German label Deadly Art, sans artwork, due to the overall laziness and ineptitude of Exhumed, and the split with Regurgitate fell apart, due to the collapse of the Headfucker label. The torpid, triturated tracks for the Regurgitate split would later appear on a split 7" with Gadget on Relapse, however. Grindcore's premier producer, Mieszko Talarczyk of Nasum was enlisted to produce the sickening sophomore opus, "Slaughtercult". Talarczyk recorded the album in California, with the aid of Colin Davis and Juan Urteaga from the band Vile, whose Trident studios was the site of all the actual recording for the album. The album was then mixed at Mieszko's Soundlab studios in Orebro, Sweden, and then mastered at the Cutting Room in Stockholm. The result was a vastly more repugnant and abhorrent clarity and power in the band's production, a much needed improvement, after the somewhat slapped-together recording process of "Gore Metal". Not waiting for the album to see its release, Exhumed returned to the live arena, supporting Mayhem and Hate Eternal across the US, before embarking on the second installment of Relapse's "Contamination" tour series, with Cephalic Carnage and Origin. The tour was joined by several of the package's label-mates, including Benumb, Mortician, Converge, and Deceased, before culminating in the massive Relapse 10th anniversary show with Dying Fetus and Dillinger Escape Plan. This rancid road-work resulted in Bud Burke earning a much-deserved full-time position in the repulsive ranks of the band. After the two-month stint, the band entered a horrific hiatus before undertaking any more live or studio work.

2001 - 2003
As 2001 began, Exhumed began to re-enter the scene through a string of live appearances, headlining the pustular and prestigious Ohio Deathfest and appearing once again at the Metal and Hardcore festival in Massachusetts. That spring, the band returned to Europe to co-headline the Fuck the Commerce IV festival, alongside Regurgitate and Cryptopsy. That summer the band once again reared their ugly heads in Europe, co-headlining another fetid festival, the Obscene Extreme Festival in the Czech Republic, alongside Haemorrhage and Regurgitate. Immediately after the festival, the band set out on a headlining tour in Europe, with Czech acts Ingrowing and Isacaarum as support. After the "Final Slaughter" tour drew to a close, the band delivered a purulent parting shot at the continent by disgracing the stage at Belgium's Eurorock festival and the world-renowned Wacken Open Air Festival. Returning to the states, the live schedule barely slackened, as the band embarked on two more American tours, first supporting Mortician on the aptly titled "Gore Tour", and then as part of the "Extreme Music for Extreme People" Death Metal super-tour with Morbid Angel, Deicide, Soilent Green, and Zyklon. The two tours were broken up by a two-week headlining stint in Canada. By the time 2001 had drawn to a close Exhumed had played nearly 100 shows. After another horrendous hiatus, the band reemerged in April 2002 to deliver Japan its first taste of Gore Metal, with 4 horrifying headlining shows with Ritual Carnage and Taiho as support acts. After returning to the US, the band set to work decomposing and deranging their next full-length album. Exhumed closed out 2002 momentously, with suppurated support dates for Rob Halford, Testament, and Violence throughout the Western US.

2003 - 2004
The band at last returned to the studio in April 2003 after extensive rehearsals, this time with uber-producer Neil Kernon (Judas Priest, Queesnryche, Dokken, Nevermore, Cannibal Corpse, Macabre, Hall & Oates, etc.) at the production helm. The resulting album, "Anatomy is Destiny" featured humongous leaps in production values over the bands' past material, with a recording quality that was worlds away from the bands' initial gurglings. Featuring significant growth in musicianship, songwriting, and lyrical content, "Anatomy is Destiny" was the result of two and a half years of painstaking surgery on the band's malignant sound. After the recording, founding member Col Jones made the difficult decision to no longer tour with the band to the lament of all involved. For the initial tours promoting "Anatomy…", Danny Walker from Uphill Battle has been enlisted to sit behind the kit. In the continuing saga of line-up changes, Bud Burke, after finally recording with the band and touring for 4 years, has also been unable to participate in the initial round of touring in promotion for "A.I.D.", and Exhumed has enlisted the skills of alumnus Leon del Muerte to man the four string motherfucker… This touring line-up hit the US with Kataklysm, Diabolic, and Malignancy as support in September of 2003, and then splattered Europe in October with Cephalic Carnage and Inhume as support. 2004 would lead to much more extensive touing across the US, Europe, Canada, Japan and Australia.