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Since I’m the biggest Amorphis fan in the known universe, it’s a wonder that I’d never thoroughly checked out Abhorrence until earlier last year. I’d heard vague rumours that they were classics of the early Finnish death metal scene, but I guess I just never considered that a band that was active for less than two years who only released a short demo and an EP could have much to offer but, my friends, let me sincerely admit that I was gravely mistaken. Abhorrence fucking rule, and tell everyone you know this fact.
The Vulgar Necrolatry demo is an obscure little gem of Finnish death metal lore, but a damned significant one at that. It was the first recorded piece of music in which Tomi Koivusaari lent his riffs of ungodlike mastery, before going on to mastermind Amorphis, alongside Esa Holopainen, of then Violent Solution notoriety. Also, albeit a decade after Abhorrence’s gruesome demise, Mika ‘Arkki’ Arnkil, would go on to provide bass for Impaled Nazarene. So, two prominent members of two of Finland’s most influential metal bands played together in a band in their teens, and what did it sound like? Well, disgustingly primitive and violent death metal, naturally. Sure, the production is about as harsh and gruff as it comes, but in a much more tasteful way than bedroom bands. The riffs trudge through the grain like a thick blizzard and the solos squeal through the mix like a tortured banshee.
The opening and title track is clearly the centerpiece of the release, and it’s no wonder Amorphis still play this song live. After the eerie, yet admittedly needless intro, the riffs stomp forth and never let up. Merging between a mid and fast pace, this song never ceases to decimate. The vocals are heavily Carcass inspired, and while the music is certainly brutal, there are still melodic moments which already remind one of the more epic moments of Amorphis’ debut, The Karelian Isthmus. Top it off with a raging solo near the end, and here you have one of Abhorrence’s best songs. What surprises me most about this release is the fact that if you can contain yourself from headbanging for a split second, and look beyond the filthy production, you’ll notice that much of the music is legitimately catchy. I could hum the breakdown at about 50 seconds into Pleasures of Putrid Flesh all day long.
This is definitely an example of a classic demo in desperate need of a good reissue. This, along with Abhorrence’s EP, really does belong in the collection of fans of the early Scandinavian and British death metal scenes. It will remind you of Dismember, it will remind you of Carcass and early Bolt Thrower, but it will also offer you something different. The filthy production and putrid atmosphere do well to hide some haunting melodic breaks which really is the charm of Abhorrence. This is music to dig up festering graves to, or desecrate holy tombstones. That or, you know, just get drunk and headbang with the bros.