|Artwork by B. Putrasangfajar|
Out of all the Exhumations I've listened to, the Indonesian Exhumation is easily the best. They formed in 2008 and released their debut album, Hymn to Your God, in 2012. These guys call themselves epic death metal. I was skeptical of this label at first. I thought they were full of themselves, but after listening to this album, they definitely live up to the label.
Their music can best be described as Behemoth-worship. This is most obvious in the drums. They are performed by a guy named Agung Kushartanto. I like to think that's Indonesian for “8-armed Drum Beast From Hell”, because that's what his performance sounds like. He just hits you with a constant, rapid blast beat assault that features lots of calamitous cymbal crashes and pounding double bass that will pulverize your bones into dust. He also plays lots of complex rhythms and fills which gives me the impression that this guy is the bastard child of Behemoth drummer Inferno. That is the only plausible explanation as to why this guy is so talented. Best of all, the snare is perfectly produced. It doesn't have that hollow thud sound that seems to plague so many other Indonesian death metal bands.
The vocals consist of a gruff growl that sounds like a mix of Nergal and the vocalist from Malthus (I forgot his name). Personally, I wish his voice was deeper, but they still get the job done, as they are extremely aggressive and radiate a special brand of malice. Since these guys are Indonesian, it's no surprise that the guitars are fantastic. As I said before, the riffs are excellent Behemoth worship, but they also play some dark and sinister riffs that remind me of Nile, the best of which can be seen at the beginning of the first song. The main riffs are fast, frantic and violent, but they also exhibit a certain harmony. I guess it's the touch of black metal that does it. On top of all that, they also play some awesome solos that dominate the fretboard and annihilate anything that is foolish enough to get in its way. My personal favorite would have to be the one on “Omnipotent”.
Two songs in particular took me by surprise. The first was the title track. It features traditional Indonesian drums as well as some string instruments that sound amazingly dark and foreboding. Topping it all off are some beautifully hypnotic female vocals. The second song that surprised me was their cover of Venom's “To Hell And Back”. I know this sounds like blasphemy, but I like this version better than the original. The gruff growls fit the song perfectly, the guitars have this great crunchy sound that wasn't in the original, the drums feel much more lively, and even the solo at the halfway point sounds much more ferocious. These guys essentially made Venom sound much more evil.
Exhumation is quite easily one of the best Indonesian death metal bands I've heard in a long time. They're amazing Behemoth-worship that features incredible drumming, gruff growls, and excellent guitars. My only regret was that I didn't discover this sooner, because if I had, they would have easily earned a spot on my best of 2012 list.
[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]