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Listen to me, you mere mortals - 95%

Razakel, March 12th, 2012

You’d be hard pressed in finding an early ’90s death metal EP that tops this monstrosity. You could tell Abhorrence meant business with their demo, but nothing could have prepared the Finnish scene for their sophomore (and, regrettably, final) release. It’s remarkable how far their sound had come in just one year of activity. I listen to this at least as much as the classics of their contemporaries, and so should you.

Abhorrence shared more in common with the likes of Grave and early Bolt Thrower than they did with anything else coming out of Finland at the time. This is nothing but the finest riff-driven primitive death metal you could hope to come by. Pestilential Mists opens up gradually from a brooding intro into an array of violent tempo changes. The production is markedly improved from the Vulgar Necrolatry demo, but still sounds as if the band is performing from within a murky, nameless cavern hidden in the dank Finnish woodlands. After the howling solo of the opener dissolves into silence, my two favourite Abhorrence tracks are consecutively presented. Riff-maestro, Tomi Koivusaari, rips right into Holy Laws of Pain with some meaty, distorted chugs. Apparently the vocalist of Abhorrence never went on to do anything else in the extreme metal underground, which is as bizarre as it is unfortunate. Nevertheless, his performance here is guttural and punishing as shit, and the way it spews through the mess of guitar distortion makes the music sound that much more abrasive. Caught in a Vortex sees the band slowing down the pace for some eerie atmospheric melodies, or at least that’s the intro, the rest is more of the same fast-paced riffy death metal. For whatever reason, the production on the final track, Disintegration of Flesh, is hilariously less polished than the rest of the tracks. Whether this was left over from the demo or not, I’m not sure, but the song itself holds up just fine so who cares.

Abhorrence didn’t waste any time during their short little stint, and while I’m often kept awake at night thinking about what a full length might have offered us, I’m fully contented with the two releases that were put forth. I guess the most logical recommendation for a full-length after this EP would be Amorphis’ debut, since it shares the primary guitarist/songwriter, but it actually doesn’t sound very similar. I’d say Amorphis’ Privilege of Evil EP is the closest companion piece to this, but still, the songs here are straight up better. If this band put out at least one more release, or if their work was given proper reissues, I’m confident that the death metal community would laud Abhorrence alongside first tier death metal acts of the same era. Alas, as it stands, they are remembered only by those who have sought them out, but those select few have been duly rewarded with filthy death metal of the highest calibre. Brief as it may have been, Abhorrence’s career is a firm and respectable pillar in the foundations of the putrid Finnish underground, and this is their definitive offering.