1997, Music

Exhumed at Birth (1997) by Faxed Head

This is a bonkers and pretty funny metal album that defies categorization a little bit, which is probably one of the reasons nobody seems to like it.

I should mention that one of my biggest issues with metal as a genre is is that most bands play one or two subgenres and that’s it. The goal seems to be to get really, really good at your subgenre(s) of choice and make a career out of it. That’s not really something I find artistically compelling.

But these guys – well they don’t seem to care about what subgenre they play. There’s death metal, black metal, grindcore and what could be called sludge metal or doom metal. (I can’t emphasize how rare it is for a band to do all of those things on the same record.) There’s also some pretty extreme noise stuff. And there are a few moments that sound like this band was the inspiration for Fantomas. (Of course, Patton was already making noise music at this point and given how close they were, it’s probably impossible to figure out who influenced who more, between Patton and Spruance.)

Another reason this album is unpopular is likely because of the presence of the man behind Neil Hamburger as the lead singer. The lyrics are extremely goofy and, well, metal is serious business folks. Though them music is serious – and I don’t think you can doubt Spruance’s metal bonafieds – this album could certainly come off as a parody, which might rub serious metal fans the wrong way.

But the music is serious, and it’s pretty compelling because of its variety and how committed they are to everything sounding like shit. (The black metal influence is more often in the shitty production values than in the actual music.)

Yeah, there are likely too many ideas, not enough songs, and not enough discipline. But it’s more engaging than just hearing the same style of music for 13 tracks. And it made me laugh.

One of the more unique metal albums of the late ’90s.


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