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Exhumed Live in Ottawa

By Andrew Depedro, Ottawa Correspondent
Sunday, June 27, 2004 @ 11:25 AM

Exhumed, Uphill Battle and Sor

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Contrary to popular belief, Rotten.com -- everyone's favorite Internet autopsy photo gallery -- was more likely to have been inspired by a lot of Spanish newspapers than by endless hours of listening to Cannibal Corpse or Exhumed's back catalogue. Back when I lived and went to college in Spain and not being well-versed in the language as I thought I was, I'd usually watch the news or read the paper to expand my vocabulary a bit. I'd say it helped. Probably too well, as it seemed that whenever a story broke on a mass murder or manmade/natural disaster they were all too eager to provide pretty graphic pictures of the incident and go into great detail about how it all unfolded just to really get to the epicenter of the whole story and get people interested. Remember the Rwanda massacre 10 years ago? Most Spaniards probably do by heart if they watched the news religiously. Helped that some of the major papers printed pics of the dead for almost a week straight after the mass genocide. El Mundo even did an in-depth interview with the guy who was in charge of fishing out the dead from Lake Kivu and he'd talk about how many corpses he'd find in one day. "Somedays I'd find up to 40 to 50 bodies with the hands and head cut off and the skin would be all puffy and bloated or I'd just find bones. I'd make more money when I bring in corpses that weren't interfered with". Mmmmmm... merienda sure sounds appetizing now. Pass the chorizo!

But getting back to the concert, who really needs to bother with reading gory journalism anymore when you can get the feeling from experiencing California gore legends Exhumed and friends live? We all know that violence in entertainment today is a manifestation of what's reflected from society anyway and judging by a lot of the autopsy pics that grace Exhumed's website, that shit's been around longer than the band itself. In fact, the first of 2 opening bands, Gatineau's own Sordid, has a link to Rotten.com and a few other gore sites on their homepage so you can tell that their lyrical inspiration ain't for mainstream tastes. Personally, I tend to get bored pretty quickly of most grindcore due to its repetitiveness in all of its elements but this band makes up for most of this with an intense performance and a decent stage connection with the audience. I didn't catch any of their setlist beyond "Exiled In Obscurity" and the show-closer, "Condemned To Genocide," but this performance helped raise their profile among some of the first-time fans like myself, even though this isn't the first time Sordid and the main act have toured. Remember when them and Exhumed played this same venue some 3 years ago, their bass player spewed and some guy wiped out on the sick (because I sure don't, as I wasn't at that gig)? That, according to vocalist Chris Therien, was him. I'm reminded of the court case at the climax of Big Daddy by Adam Sandler when Julian's real father claims that he didn't know what he was doing on that business trip to Toronto when he knocked up that waitress. "It was the Canadian beer. It's like moonshine!" There wasn't a repeat of that incident that night. Which was a bit of a shame because the churning and cathartic release of one's bowels would've made for a few more new songs...


Co-headliners and fellow Californians Uphill Battle took to the stage after what seemed to be a pretty chaotic soundcheck. I think after 20 minutes they just decided to go ahead anyway. It's some 4 songs into the set and I'm the only person so far who's into this band, never mind that it's the first time I've heard of them and the only reason I'm digging the music is because I'm picking up comparisons to Burnt By The Sun and applying them to these guys. The bass player leaps off the stage, slams into a couple of people and finally gets a pit going. I get caught up in it and get trampled a few times, nothing major, and resume battle. This 5 ft. French-Canadian chick is at this point taking control of the whole moshpit, exhibiting pretty much every pit move that hasn't been outlawed yet in every venue. Gorilla, skanking pickle, a bit of picking up change... I think I even got groped by her during a slam dance. That aside, this band had some decent gems that caught the audience's attention, most notably "Wreck Of Nerves," "Ripped Off Face," "Next on the Misery Index," "Tear Everything Down," "Self-Inflicted," "Threshold," "Cross Hatching" and "Forked Tongue." Yes, that's your damn setlist and then some. Uphill Battle were so brutal that night it hurt.


Finally, the California gore metal legends whose website bio boasts of their "savage blend of snarling, grinding, down-tuned guitars," "alternately abrasively screeched and grotesquely gurgled vocals" and topped off with "pummeling, straightforward drumming" took to the stage. If Maroon 5 was your first guess you've long wasted my time and yours reading this article up to now. Exhumed storm the stage and the crowd goes ballistic. Actually, it's the two Exhumed guitarists with Leon Del Muerte (Impaled) and I believe also Danny Walker (Uphill Battle) subbing for their rhythm section that night. Talk about affirmative action. Recently Hatebreed and Drowning Pool got turned away in separate incidents at the border because one or more of their members had improper visa requirements, thus prompting a cancellation of Canadian dates and Hatebreed's Jamey Jasta to laughably compare Canadian customs to the Third Reich. Yet despite getting only a fraction of record company backing compared to DP and Hatebreed and literally being only half the band that night, Exhumed still fulfilled their touring commitments. In fact, maybe saying that they were half the band that night with a borrowed rhythm section was being unfair because Del Muerte and Walker wailed out the tunes like they've been in the band all their lives. In between the songs the audience was treated to a one-handed bass solo and a bass-and-drum duet. And vocalist/guitarist Matt Harvey actually was serious when he declared our crowd participation to be more insane than the Germanís. Odd, considering that Germany's the land of Kreator, Destruction and Wacken/Bang Your Head festivals while here we tend to define hard rock by how well a band can clone Radiohead and Papa Roach down to every last detail (and now that Canada has made Jamey Jasta's shitlist, what's the chance of Into Eternity or Kataklysm getting airplay on Headbanger's Ball?). But we could use all the good press we can get. And all the good concerts.

Setlist in no order whatsoever, and if you've seen the moshpits at Exhumed's shows you'd know why:

"Horrendous Member Dismemberment"
"Consuming Impulse"
"Forged In Fire (Formed In Flame)"
"Open The Abscess"
"Totally Fucking Dead"
"Disinterred, Digested And Debauched"
"Indignities To The Dead"
"Cadaveric Splatter Flatter"
"This Axe Was Made To Grind"
"Decrepit Crescendo"
"The Matter Of Splatter"
"Consuming Impulse"
"Death Walks Behind You"


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