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Freebird Live, Jacksonville FL April 5, 2012

The following is a truism for metal shows, but it can very easily be applied to any genre or style of music: you know it's going to be a good concert when the band is preceded by a "mad surgeon" in blood-splattered scrubs, who runs onstage to brandish a live chainsaw at the audience. It's just the way it is.

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Cameron Nunez • Click to enlarge

Exhumed is a band that, through sheer demented enthusiasm and grotesque flair, has transcended the sum of its influences. Throwing the likes of Carcass, Repulsion, Mortician, and Venom into a blender, and smearing themselves with the resulting sonic pulp, Exhumed's music is raw and punkish in execution, and against all odds is catchy, immediate, and even fun without sacrificing extremity or velocity.

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Cameron Nunez • Click to enlarge

They've been at it for just over a decade, and, like all of the best death metal bands, are stubborn survivors. Your correspondent saw them at a warehouse venue in 2000-ish, opening for Mortician, and was suitably impressed when the the bullet-belted vocalist spit up what looked like stage blood twenty seconds into the set. Your correspondent was twice as impressed when he ascertained that the blood in question was, in fact, an angry red pool of vomit. METAL!!!

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Cameron Nunez • Click to enlarge

So here we are nearly a decade later, in a venue appreciably bigger, with Exhumed opening for gore dullards Cannibal Corpse, and yeah, Exhumed totally upstage the hell out of them. See, the Exhumed mix of goregrind with an unhealthy injection of punk messiness (Discharge, Nausea) and just a touch of Merciful Fate-esque melody makes for a great fucking set.

And any band that lifts its guitars in tandem for total feedback headfucking at the end of nearly every song is a-ok in my book.

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Cameron Nunez • Click to enlarge

The vocalist urges everyone to steal their music online, since "we aren't making a fucking dime from our record company," and then lunges into a brace of eminently bootleggable new tunes. They cap off an already unbelievable set with the "mad surgeon" making a return. This time he pours blood from a human heart all over the first few rows of the audience. Not for the faint of heart. Or ear.