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From the macabre past... - 96%

Drowned, December 19th, 2005

Absu is a band who went on to make quite a career for themselves in the black metal scene, but in 1991 things were different and at that point they were playing a very occult form of brutal death metal. "The Temples of Offal" is technically a studio rehearsal, but most people refer to it as a demo. It was later released on vinyl with new cover art by Gothic Records. I've heard most of Absu's black metal endeavors, but I have to say that this tape is their finest hour for me. It's one of those few demos that I keep going back to on a regular basis, no matter what promising new stuff is available. "Temples..." to me is probably the best example of raw, ritualistic American death metal ever put to tape or vinyl and it's something that I would take all the way to the grave.

The tape contains three incantations of heavy, fast-tempo death that I would compare to NY bands like Entrapment and (a darker form of) Suffocation. The production is pretty basic, but good for a demo release. The downtuned guitars and bass are layered thick, while the drumming is basically discernable except during the extremely fast, blasting parts where things tend to get a bit muddy/sloppy. There's a fair amount of double bass used, and it really stands out when the tempo slows down. The middle sections of "Disembodied" are a great example of this. The vocals are deep, suffocating growls that sound like they're coming from the fiery abyss.

Each song is an instant classic. The main riffs in "Immortal Sorcery" are so sickening and demonic that you can almost smell the blood running down the dungeon walls as an occult ritual is performed on your remains. The singer uses some distorted processed vocals during parts of this song, which I have to say sound very sinister and not cheesy in the least bit. It only adds to the macabre atmosphere of it all. "Sumerian Sands (The Silence)" takes the darkness even further as the music slows down to an agonizing, mid-tempo sacrifice of bloodboiling riffs and a blistering double bass that with each beat snaps another bone in your body. "Disembodied" is probably the best song on the demo, however. It's back to the fast tempo of the first track, with each riff being very memorable and even better than the previous one. Before you know it you'll be venomously banging your head, in addition to ripping apart rosaries and breaking Children of Bodom DVD's.

"The Temples of Offal" is a landmark demo release in the American death metal underground. Listen and become spellbound.