Thursday, June 12, 2014

The stories behind, and transcriptions for, "Open The Abscess" and "Sickened"

Hello, guitar nerds. Here's some more tablature for you, and for those of you not so guitardedly inclined... Here's a little background info on the tunes.

Open The Abscess

When we were writing "Gore Metal" Col and I were deeply obsessed with German Thrash, constantly blasting Sodom, Destruction, Assassin, Protector, and Kreator and shaming anyone who wasn't as excited about wearing multiple bullet-belts as we were. We were zealots, and like all zealots, we were kind of dicks about the whole thing, but our enthusiasm shone through in the record - our "musicianship" definitely didn't. When we were working on "Open The Abscess" I envisioned it being our "Bestial Devastation," which I suppose is sort of Destruction's "Whiplash."

In the spirit of the Death Metal / Thrash crossover we were embracing, I stole the title from a lyric in "Out of the Body" by Pestilence - "No time to waste, just open the abscess, will you please help me?" Ross and I split the lyrics on this one, like most of the songs on "Gore Metal," although my memory is a bit hazy on who did more of it (probably Ross?). From the get-go, this was my favorite song on the album and we've played it live countless times throughout the varying incarnations of the band that have ensued since '98.

Here's a blast (beat) from the past. "Open The Abscess" live from our tour with Mortician back in 2001. Warts and all. Actually more warts than anything else.


Sickened went through a weird process before making its way onto Necrocracy. Original Exhumed drummer Col Jones and I have a Thrash Metal band called Dekapitator and at different times, we've talked about taking the band in various tangential directions. In fact, after we did the first album "We Will Destroy... You Will Obey" in '99, we wanted to become a vicious, hyperspeed Sadus / Kreator hybrid, but then Hypnosia came out with their debut EP that was in that vein and impossibly great, so we scrapped that. At another point, we were considering getting a melodic vocalist and heading in a more Power / Thrash direction a la early Helloween.

Anyway, I was thinking of taking the band in a more dark Death / Thrash direction when I wrote what would eventually become "Sickened" for Dekapitator. After it became clear that nothing was really going on with that band (Col's busy with Cretin and Repulsion as well as adult stuff like a marriage and a career), I brought it to Gravehill when Rob and I were still in the band and we were writing for When All Roads Lead To Hell. We learned the song, with a different bridge and no blast beats, but Rhett "Thorgrimm" Davis decided the arrangement wasn't particularly Gravehill, which I suppose is true in hindsight.

I always liked the riffs for the song, and when I was listening back through my old pre-production recordings while writing Necrocracy I rediscovered this tune. After replacing a few polka beats with blast beats and re-tooling the bridge, I had a "new" Exhumed song. Like a lot of our more recent songs that seem to catch on, I thought this was kind of a throwaway tune that would be relegated to being a bonus track or something. Rob immediately pegged it as his favorite song on the album, and it's become a staple of our live set. It also got some nice mentions in reviews, which was cool, and more importantly, it's become one of the key "circle-pit" moments of our whole set, which is very satisfying.

Here's a cool video someone crafted for "Sickened" using clips from the new Evil Dead movie. And yes, I thoroughly enjoyed the remake. Certainly the goriest theatrical release movie I've seen in years. If I was 14 and seeing that, I'd want to start a Death Metal band all over again.
So here are the transcriptions for these. I use Guitar Pro 6 to transcribe well, pretty much everything at this point. I've posted the .gpx files from that program and .pdfs of the tab for those who don't have it. 
So here are the Guitar Pro files first.
And here are the .pdf files.
As far as playing these tunes, they're far from our most technical, Open The Abscess is really just difficult to hear on the recording, which I suppose is why folks have requested the transcription. The tempo shifts are very, ahem... "organic" on the record so don't pay too much attention to the tempos on the transcription.
Sickened is a pretty straightforward Death / Thrash kind of thing, lots of speed-picking going on. I've included the tapping sequence that's my "solo" and the harmony for it. When we recorded Necrocracy, this was the first song Bud recorded a lead for, and what you hear on the album is literally his first take. I have no idea what he did (and he probably doesn't either) but it's definitely beyond my ability to play or transcribe, so... good luck on that one, haha!  Anyway, enjoy.
Harvey and the usual gang of idiots