One of the first essential releases of 2014 is this split release from Tankcrimes Records featuring Californian death metal veterans Exhumed and Virginia crossover crew Iron Reagan, who feature members of Municipal Waste and Darkest Hour in their number.
Exhumed are first up with four tracks on offer. Two songs of their own in ‘Gravewalker’ and ‘Dead To The World’, and they also throw in a couple of covers in Minor Threat’s ‘Seeing Red’ and Negative Approach’s ‘Ready To Fight’. These versions add that classic Exhumed sound to two well known tunes. A bloody mess of blastbeats and thrashing riffs combine to devastating effect. On the back of this and ‘Necrocracy’, this shows that there is plenty of life (or should that be death) in the band yet.
It’s over to Iron Reagan for the final four tracks of the split, all of them original material. Another band with a love of everything old school, they head in a direction that perfectly melds 80’s thrash and hardcore to produce tracks that will draw fans from all aspects of punk and metal. Wasting no time, they rip through their side in around five minutes.
Both bands released albums that rated highly in end of year lists, and that form looks set to continue. Difficult to pick any particular favourites as each band and each track stands out. It seems a perfect collaboration, and one that would make an amazing tour. Eight tracks, eleven and a half minutes of excellence. It is available on vinyl and also streaming free online.