Abhorrence: Completely Vulgar

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.

RingMaster 29/05/2012

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General Surgery: A Collection of Depravation

If you are a goregrind fan and definitely a blood soaked follower of General Surgery than the release of A Collection of Depravation is a must investigate invitation. Having re-signed with Relapse Records recently the band has brought their rarer slices of bloodied mayhem from across their twenty odd years into a charnel house of pleasure in the shape of this compilation album. The thirty track medically ruptured colossus includes tracks from out of print singles, some vinyl only EP releases, unheard demos, songs that blistered compilations and also a few covers. With the release digitally remastered by Scott Hull of Pig Destroyer the result is an intense and malicious blood fest that if it is your kind of car crash tipple will please intensely, a gore hound metal treat.

General Surgery are often called Carcass clones which though it is easy to understand with the sounds the band violate with taking a definite lead from that band it has always been a harsh and uninspired comment to throw against them. Admittedly here at RR neither band has previously been high on our listening list or featured on our table of knowledge but the General Surgery sounds we have come across has always had that individual something to easily stand tall and distinct in their own right, the new release the proof.

A Collection of Depravation features almost every General Surgery line-up in their time, the members across the years having also featured in the likes of Dismember, Afflicted, Crematory, Nasum, Repugnant, Regurgitate to name a few. The release is a major slab of band and goregrind history which with its quality tracks and the considered attention given to its contents and release stands high amongst a flurry of rediscovered/re-released materials from bands in recent months.

The majority of songs on the album barely learn to count past two minutes, many much shorter but they still leave one breathless and eager for more of their intrusive festered sounds. Though their chosen structure the excellent Convival Corpose Disposal Methodology and its six minute carnage shows the band has the ability to turn their violations into an epic brutal assault just as easily and skilfully.

Personal standout tracks on A Collection of Depravation include the brilliant pair of Fulguration and Idle Teratoma Core, both offering a groove and hypnotic grind that leads one eagerly into the less welcomingly putrid blood baths elsewhere. The duo easily take top honours on the release but the likes of Mortuary Wars, Restrained Remains, Unruly Dissection Marathon, and Scalpel Infestation all are very impressive slabs of meat too as well as the excellent Xysma and Carcass covers of Foetal Mush and Empathological Necroticism respectively. There is no weak track anywhere to be fair, the proof of maybe how underrated the band have been.

A Collection of Depravation in many ways is mainly for goregrind and Swedish death metal lovers though there is plenty for other extreme metalers to get their kicks from within the release. As mentioned General Surgery has not previously been a band followed closely here but after this fine compilation a look into their other releases is certainly the next order of the day.

Ringmaster 30/03/2012

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