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To have a gem like this come from Columbia, SC is nothing short of astonishing. Horrendous barreled onto the scene with unstoppable force with their expertly produced first offering, Sweet Blasphemies. Right from Merlin the Mystic, these guys show you that Sunlight Studios is gone but not forgotten, channeling the ancient art of polished, brutal, and catchy Swedish death metal. With ferocity and skill that even Entombed would envy, it takes you through the realms of thrash-like intensity all the way to mid-tempo, almost melodic death parts such as the slow dual guitar riff near the start of Reanimated.
I much disagree with the first poster as Ridiculous Flesh is by far my favorite track, and the chorus is fitting with the tempo and general vibe of the track. It is extremely up-tempo and I know live it possesses an energy unlike anything seen in the past 15 years of death metal. I'll again draw mention to the expert production as it seems the producer took a sample in classic death metal history and carbonized it, reproducing it nearly flawlessly. It felt like I had discovered a gem from Stockholm in 1991! Standout tracks are Ridiculous Flesh and Reanimated, with Putrid Rebirth receiving an honorable mention. don't stop guys, keep it coming!
So, one day, at the beginning of March, I just decided to go somewhat insane just scouring MySpace for bands to add to M-A, randomly looking up words that would sound like it'd be part of a metal band's name. Lo and behold, my first search, Horrendous, and I find this fairly new band. I was intrigued. Despite being a band for only a few months, I was surprised they weren't signed yet (and it appears they are now, to release this demo on tape). But at the time, it wasn't clear if they had any release yet, until I go to their Last.fm page, where someone said in the shoutbox that they have a CD-R available. I message the band, and get a CD-R copy. Even being a a bare CD-R release (white CD-R sleeve, text written in marker on the CD-R), I find Sweet Blasphemies to be the best music purchase I've made thus far this year.
Throughout the release, one thing is clear: Sweet Blasphemies has excellent production. For a demo, it surely does not have that mediocre demo quality: the sound isn't "muddy", and none of the instrumentation is drowned out; everything can be heard perfectly. With Sweet Blasphemies, Horrendous offers up a slab of Swedish-/old school-influenced death metal. The release mixes up the fast and slow paces pretty much equally, sometimes sounding a bit like thrash metal, sometimes relaxing a bit more, but otherwise never relenting in its sonic assault. The band exhibits great guitar proficiency, especially in its solos. Hell, even with about half of the opening track, "Merlin the Mystic", being a couple of guitar solos, it does not detract from its enjoyability. The drumming is top-notch, having a lot of variation. With blast beats few and far in between, the moderately-paced drumming only adds to the enjoyment.
The track order could not have been any better. Sweet Blasphemies starts off getting you quickly up to pace with "Merlin the Mystic", and ends with "Disintegrating Into Obscurity", which kind of actually feels like the band is saying "goodbye, see you next time...if you dare", in the sense that you are slowly, well, "disintegrating into obscurity". Essentially, you can feel like you are actually a part of the album and experiencing the events of the album as they are happening, rather than merely visualizing them.
Probably the only the only negative things I have to say about this is that it is a tiny bit repetitive, and that the lyrics could have been developed a bit more, especially on the second song, "Ridiculous Flesh". I mean, the chorus, so to speak, could have been more than just "This flesh is ridiculous, This flesh is ridiculous, This flesh is ridiculous, this flesh...oh, this flesh." Change it up a bit, will ya? Anyway, there's not much else holding this release back. Horrendous is definitely a promising band, and I can't wait to hear any future output from them. Grab a copy of this if you can, especially if you're a fan of Swedish-influenced old school death metal; you won't be disappointed.