This aptly named anthology scrapes together all surviving artifacts (other recordings having been lost to a house fire) from the very, very, very underground career of Baltimore, MD's Death Mask -- a band whose 20-year existence went unnoticed even by underground heavy metal standards. This is hardly surprising, though, given that Death Mask only rarely performed live, and never sniffed at a record contract, relying just on word of mouth and the volunteer help of local acquaintances to capture some of their rehearsals to tape…poorly. What we're saying here is that Exhumation's contents posses the sonic standards of a third- or fourth-generation demo tape, if that; and it's therefore quite a testament to the power trio's paralyzing heaviness that mud-caked sludge/doom/thrash standouts like "Mercenary," "Dead Planet," and "Acid Rain" radiate so much power, despite the deplorable audio fidelity. On the other hand, the five live recordings that close out this set come shrouded in such an impenetrable aural fog that even the most patient and curious of listeners would be forgiven for throwing their hands up in despair. In other words, although no one could possibly begrudge Death Mask finally having their day in the sun, to call Exhumation's appeal "selective" would be extremely generous; the truth is that this particular salvage operation for consumption by super-fans only.
by Eduardo Rivadavia