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Abhorrence was a pre-Amorphis death metal band that managed to get signed to the now infamous rip-off label Seraphic Decay and release one 7" EP. Of course, Amorphis themselves put out some killer death metal on their first EP "Privilege of Evil". There was a song on there called "Vulgar Necrolatry", which not many people may know was originally recorded by Abhorrence on this demo of the same title. The music and production on this tape is raw and totally stripped down when compared to "Privilege of Evil", but alone it stands as an influencial release that got lots of attention when it came out. The songs offer a good mixture of slow, doomy sections and fast, blasting parts. Some insane guitar solos are also present, which is always great to hear.
After a bonechilling ritual-like intro called "The Cult", the title song kicks in. Immediately you can tell that the production here is bare bones, especially in the drums which are recorded very low in the mix. It's so lo-fi that the bass drum is barely audible! But despite the drum production, the guitars and bass actually sound very good. The guitar tone is amazing - one of the darkest I've ever heard on a debut demo. The vocalist sounds very similar to the singer on "Vulgar Necrolatry" from the Amorphis EP. I'm not 100% sure if it's the same guy, but if you listen to that EP then you'll notice the difference in vocals on that song when compared to the other tracks. You can actually understand him fairly well on the demo, despite the accent... But back to the song: It seems to be played a little bit slower than on the Amorphis EP, but not to the point where it doesn't even sound like the same riffs. The haunting guitar part about midway through the song always sends chills down my spine!
The next song is "Pleasures of Putrid Flesh". The lyrics are totally cheesy, dealing with eating cadavers, genitals, etc. I actually never read the words, but as I mentioned before it's easy to understand the vocalist when he sings. Pretty cool. The song itself is not so generic, instead it's probably the stand-out composition on the demo. There's a completely evil bass solo somewhere in the middle that will tear your skin off. While "Vulgar Necrolatry" had 2 or 3 dark riffs, this song has 5 or 6. Abhorrence just continue bombarding the listener with utter darkness and fear. Towards the end, the music slows down and the vocalist sings "I find no pleasure in life..." during which I think the coolest riff on the entire demo is played. It's simple, doomy and filled with haunting melody - classic Finnish death!
The final song is called "Devourer of Souls" - I can name at least 2 other bands (Broken Hope and Summon) that have used this same title before. I guess it's a common lyrical theme for starting death metal groups. This song is the thrashiest one yet, filled with some fast guitar solos and cool thrash beats for maximum headbanging. But then once again, a haunting doom riff appears out of nowhere and you're reminded that the darkness is not yet over. This particular guitar riff reminds me of some melodies used on Disgrace's "Inside the Labyrinth..." demo, which is one of my favorite demos of all time so of course I was happy to hear it!
This demo is definitely for die-hards. The production is just too minimal for the mainstream death metal audience to accept, but once you get past the sound then you'll learn to appreciate this demo for what it is. A masterpiece of darkness.