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Before all of the bombastic song titles and before the full-length, Abhorer got started way back in 1989 with their debut demo “Rumpus of the Undead.” The most extreme music around then were bands like Autopsy, Bathory, Bolt Thrower, Morbid Angel and Celtic Frost among others, but the four songs (not counting the intro) here are quite savage themselves, much moreso than the aforementioned bands who were the giants of the time. A lot of people may have not been prepared for the raw and sloppy music that coursed through this demo, because this music is absolutely filthy. The riffs, production, vocals and everything else just reeks of old-school.
The first thing that anyone will immediately notice after the intro track clears is the muddled production. The quality of the production on this demo is shitty to say the least, but it adds to the overall feel of the songs quite nicely. The Celtic Frost/Slaughter guitar tone is murky and it makes the opening power chords of “Repudiated Faith” sound really dark. Throw in some whammy bar madness and incomprehensible growls, and you have the vile sound that Abhorer created. The majority of the riffs on “Rumpus of the Undead” are tremolo bursts and some occasional power chords, but there isn’t much variation in the riffs. Still, tracks like the title track and “Profane Immolation” crush as they engulf the listener in a shroud of evil, while they're simultaneously being pummeled by the rapid-fire percussion and insane growls. This Singaporean quartet definitely made an impact of sorts with this demo, but they would also go on to create much better music and leave an ugly and profound mark on the metal underground in Asia, and the world for that matter.
“Rumpus of the Undead”
Originally written for Nightmare Reality Webzine.
This is a cool little demo from Singaporean cult legends Abhorer. Along with Blood Upon the Altar, INRI, Tormenting the Holy Trinity, and Bloody Vengeance, Rumpus of the Undead was one of the first of its kind. Although all of the releases I mentioned are stylistically different from one another, essentially they still are all savage, bestial permutations of early forms of black and death metal. Despite its primitivism, Rumpus of the Undead still broke ground, and helped pave the way for the countless other black/death bands to follow.
I’m not going to use the word “production” here because there really isn’t any. This sounds like it was recorded live in a rehearsal room straight to a two-track tape recorder, meaning no overdubs, mixing, tape splicing or any other studio trickery. This gives the recording a muffled and fuzzy sound, but it’s still clear enough for the guitar/bass riffs, drums, and vocals to be easily discernable amongst the wall of pummeling noise.
Comparing this to the Upheaval of Blasphemy 7”, you can definitely tell that there was a gap large enough to allow the band to develop their sound and grow as musicians. However, that is not to say that Abhorer let their sloppiness and technical deficiency get the best of them, as the aggression and ferocity seen on the 7” and later Zygotical Sabbatory Unabapt is still there. The vocals are a gruff growl, and in terms of pitch, they are still pretty similar to those on their next two recordings. The guitar and bass mesh and create one big, messy wall of fuzz that continuously pumps out tremolo-picked frenzies and the occasional thrash riff. The drums stay at almost a constant blast throughout most of the recording, driving this bestial force even further. Throughout the demo’s whopping 16-minute entirety, Abhorer reinforce the fact that at the time, they were not concerned with progression or diversity. They were only there to create metal at its utmost extreme, and they succeeded.
This is an excellent demo once you get past the fuzz and tape hiss, and I would recommend this to everyone into filthy, old, primitive black/death, as this certainly sits nicely along with all the aforementioned groundbreaking releases of that time.