A thorough treat for death metal fans this month comes in the form of the album Completely Vulgar from Finnish band Abhorrence. Acclaimed as the true pioneers and masters of Finnish Death Metal the album sees their only releases together with live tracks and on the 2 record vinyl version of the release a rare rehearsal demo, Macabre Masquerade. It is an album which not only marks the seeds of a scene but still has a place and potency amongst the genre today, sounding surprisingly fresh and definitely with an influence still to share.
Abhorrence began in early 1989 and in its brief existence released the demo Vulgar Necrolatry, and a self titled EP, both as mentioned the heart of Completely Vulgar. Initially playing under a few names before settling on Abhorrence, the band shared stages with the likes of Xysma and Funebre and played across Finland building a reputation to stay with them long after the band split in 1990. Guitarist Tomi Koivusaari went on to play in Amorphis who themselves recorded and have often played live the Abhorrence track Vulgar Necrolatry. Though almost a fleeting moment in the history of death metal the line-up of Koivusaari , fellow guitarist Kalle Mattsson, bassist Jussi Ahlroth, drummer Kimmo Heikkinen, and vocalist Jukka Kolehmainen, laid a big piece of foundation for what was to come with their striking and powerful sounds, something this release more than provides evidence of.
Release by Svart Records it is impossible not to be overwhelmed by the tracks on Completely Vulgar, their power and inventiveness mountainous whilst the heavy and oppressive feel of the production only adding to the consuming atmosphere and intensity created. Opening with intro The Cult, the album brings forth the tracks of the EP first and immediately has the senses reeling. From the destructive sounds of Pestilential Mists with its almost tortuous melodies and abrasive grumbling bass plus a groove leaving deep scars across the ear, through the mighty pair of monstrous beasts in Holy Laws of Pain and Caught in a Vortex one is exploited and exhilarated by the creativity before them. These last two tracks really epitomize what the band was all about and even now match anything current bands have to offer. The ear piercing corruption of Disintegration of Flesh finishes off the opening violation of the senses, stepping aside for the tracks that made up the demo.
Vulgar Necrolatry, Pleasures of Putrid Flesh, and Devourer of Souls all only go to confirm the importance and influence of the band. With an even more suffocating production than on the EP the tracks seek out and consume every corner of the senses and thought with strength and impressive skill, the mugginess of the sounds adding to the oppressive violation.
The live tracks on the release are from a 30-minute live show from Turku, Finland in 1990 and easily with their raw unpolished sound pull you right into the atmosphere of the time. The same can be said of the again openly raw cuts of the five-track rehearsal demo Macabre Masquerade which appears on the vinyl version of Completely Vulgar only. With a mini-gatefold cover and a booklet crammed full of memorabilia, lyrics and liner notes from all band members accompanying the CD whilst the limited vinyl version has an even more massive booklet and a gatefold jacket, Completely Vulgar is a real and honest treat.
If Abhorrence escaped your attention originally then now is the chance to hear and feel the beginning of a sub genre. With an atmosphere and musical prowess as heavy and aggressively consumptive as you dare ever wish for Completely Vulgar is a must investigation for all death metal fans.