[Shawn Macomber contributes this Sinister Seven with Exhumed frontman Matt Harvey.]
When Rue Morgue caught up with Exhumed on one of the early dates of this year’s Summer Slaughter tour, we asked the gore-festooned, old-school death metal legends how they planned to leave their mark on a package boasting such extreme metal luminaries as Cannibal Corpse, Between the Buried and Me, Job for a Cowboy, and Goatwhore. “By pouring blood on everyone in the front row and drinking the most beer in the history of the tour,” guitarist/vocalist Matt Harvey replied.
And how is that working out for the band two-thirds of the way through the journey? “The first one, we’ve got on lockdown,” Harvey says. “The second one, we’ve had some help achieving from our friends in Goatwhore.”
Based on the above interaction we had a hunch Harvey had more wisdom to impart, and over the course of seven sinister queries he surely does not disappoint.
[Ed. note: For more on Exhumed, check out the Gore-Met's interview with Harvey in RM#114.]
If the Summer Slaughter tour were a horror film featuring an actual exhumed cannibal corpse, in what order would the bands be eaten alive and who amongst them would survive to anchor next year’s sequel?
I think our friends in Cerebral Bore would probably be eaten first, since they’re not used to the rough and tumble American lifestyle. But their RV would be a great vehicle that would immediately be taken over. I think the definite survivors would be Sammy, Ben, and James of Goatwhore—sorry, Zack, the pretty ones always die first—Mike and Rob of our band, and George, Pat, and Rob of Cannibal…Pat and Rob because of their firearm training, George because his neck is too thick for zombies to bite through.
Matt, the reference to “the Buried” right smack in the middle of Between the Buried and Me’s moniker seems like a barely veiled dig at exhumation. Have you been able to avoid beef with those boys over this, and to what degree do you consider it a matter of honor to liberate those capital-“B” Burieds before the end of the tour?
We were going to challenge them to a dance-off style gang fight a la West Side Story, but their drummer is rocking the same hairdo Kurt Russell had in Big Trouble In Little China, so we actually became fast friends.
Is there something especially attractive about slaughter in the summer? If, for example, the promoter had come to you and said, “How about…Winter Slaughter instead,” would you been like, “Eh, I prefer to cull in T-shirt weather” or would you have still have done the tour?
I would much rather be doing a Spring Slaughter or Autumn Assault tour. Being from California, this tour has helped me re-define my position on summer weather. I’m used to 70s and 80s with ocean breeze and minimal humidity. The rest of this continent is fucked during the summer!
Is there any particular track you’ve—ahem—exhumed for Summer Slaughter that specifically encompasses the tortures, trials and triumphs of a nine-band package tour?
Well, I think our album title kind of encapsulates our “career” thus far. We’ve never been cool or trendy or sexy, even in the underground. We’ve always just stuck to our guns and ground out ugly, nasty death metal and grind. A lot of the kids that come out to these shows weren’t even born when we started playing this style of music and I think a lot of them don’t really get what we’re doing, but we’re used to it.
Since Bud Burke is back in the band—bass from ’99 to ’05, now on guitar—we brought back “In The Name Of Gore” from the Anatomy Is Destiny record. But we only have a 25-minute set, so our song selection is a bit limited.
Original Woodstock for sure! Pure LSD, naked hippie chicks—I could become my own uncle or something. Which would be an interesting time travel paradox.
Speaking of time travel, if we were to go back to your own cherubic youth, at what specific moment do you think we would find it dawning on your family that you might someday end up serving aural splatter platters at something called Summer Slaughter?
Probably at about 14, when I was a freshman in high school bashing out covers of classic Death tracks like “Mutilation,” “Sacrificial” and “Regurgitated Guts” in my mom’s living room. It’s been a long and harrowing descent into a lifestyle of excessive alcohol, blast beats, and z-grade horror flicks.
Finally, there are several much less explicitly horror-centered bands on this year’s bill. Exhumed is asked to curate a horror film festival for the un- or –under-initiated. Which five flicks do you choose?
1. Gates Of Hell: Lucio Fulci’s epic about a suicidal priest, eyes that bleed, brains getting drilled and, er…regurgitated guts registers a 9.5 on the Richter scale and the shitty, early ’80s film quality is nauseating in and of itself. This is poseur repellant on celluloid. So utterly death metal it figured heavily in the inspiration for Sodom’s
“Obsessed By Cruelty” and Death’s “Regurgitated Guts” from the classic debut Scream Bloody Gore.
2. Re-Animator: This will lighten the mood a little bit with some goofy, gory fun from either side of the grave. Dr. Herbert West’s controversial views on the definition of brain death will appeal to the science nerds in The Faceless—who frequently intone “Hail Sagan”—and Between the Buried and Me—who have a NASA logo spoof shirt. Dean Halsey’s daughter’s tits will appeal to the rest of us. This movie forever cements neon green as one of the greatest colors every disgorged onto a movie screen.
3. Suspiria: Just in case anyone isn’t afraid of witchcraft, this artful shocker from directorial mastermind Dario Argento—the aptly nicknamed “Italian Hitchcock”—should creep out just about anyone with its elegant death scenes, eerie soundtrack—courtesy of Claudio Simonetti and the amazing Goblin—and lethal cinematography. This elevates the slasher film to high art.
4. The Texas Chainsaw Massacre: The original and probably still the best. Shocking, brutal and ugly, this is the death metal of cinema. When you shove a screaming blonde into a freezer, impale a body on a meathook, and commit grisly chainsaw murders galore, no one will ever make fun of you for being a crossdresser. The dinner scene alone is the essence of pure terror—bizarre, shocking, surreal and skin crawling. Often imitated, never equaled.
5. Brain Dead: Before Peter Jackson was endearing hobbits to millions, he was splattering the screen with gallon after gallon of unmitigated gore. This movie is as hilarious as it is violent, full of shocking revelations like Lionel’s mother eating Paquita’s dog. Great deadpan humor collides with an undead massacre of epic proportions. Plus a karate kicking priest fighting zombies, a zombified infant getting punted, and a cloying mother-monster that literally shoves her son back into her own womb. The perfect way to cap off a gore movie marathon with a few yuks and a lot of carnage.