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I ll start things off by telling you that if you consider yourselves fans of grindcore, goregrind and even plain death metal this is one of the releases you NEED to own! Repulsion may not be one of the first bands that you come across when you are starting to get into the extreme sound, but in my opinion is one of utmost importance to really get acquainted with how things evolved in the genre of grind/death.
This album is the living proof that if a band can combine its influences in a stunning way and is obviously filled with a passion to crush everything in its path, the result is punishing to say the least. In the 2cd reissue of this album that contains the demos, we can easily comprehend that the origins of this album can be traced back to the golden era of 80 s hardcore/thrash and even proto death/black metal bands (celtic frost, bathory ,venom, slayer, siege, ripcord to name a few) . By releasing their first (and only) album, Repulsion should be memorized as the one album-miracle (along with the likes of Terrorizer etc.).
Should someone use two words to describe this cd,those should be ‘relentless’ and ‘atmosferic’. Firstly, while listening to ‘Horrified, you will find yourself not wanting to sit down even for an instant. At the moment each and every song kicks in you can feel a rush of energy and an urge for unstoppable mayhem and destruction… I myself have never encountered such a straightforward sonic onslaught, one that never lets up in the entire album! You can surely feel that the band s goal was to deliver a no breaks-carnage, one to surely push the boundaries of extremity at the time.
Another characteristic of this album is that each instrument feels like an essential component to reaching this devastating result. Firstly, the guitars have one of the best tones you ll come across, falling somewhere between the sound of hardcore and proto/death thrash. The guitar parts are not something difficult for someone to play, on the contrary they are pretty simple in pretty much all of the songs, no exhibition of technicality to be found here. That does not extract even an inch of power from this release, as they are definitely well executed and convey a rotting atmosphere all over the place.
The bass was definitely one to shock the audience at the time. Sure, there s a distinct Discharge influence in the manner of playing, but Repulsion took it to the next level of madness, as it s defitinely way more downtuned than in any other contemporary band. What you get here is a fuzzy wall of noise, but one to sustain a sense of evilness and heaviness to the music and even provide you with moments you ll want to revisit (check the intro of Festering Boils!).
The drums are obviously worthy of praise, especially considering the speed the infamous ‘Dave Grave’ developed on this album! His playing far surpassed the limits set for fast playing and paved the way for a whole new generation of bands who set out to match his intense drumming! Despite that, technicality is once again not an option, as we are talking about simple stuff here, no fancy fills or anything(especially compared to monsters like Nile and Hate Eternal), but still it matches the music greatly and gets the carnage going!
And last but not least, we have the vocals. I must say I really prefer Scott Carlson’s performance on this album over the one in the demos and even the live shows. What you get here is a unique mix of venom-meets possessed-meets death,and this injected with a hardcore attitude! His voice can transform from a hardcore-ish one to an exceedingly rotting one, making you believe you have a festering zombie handling the vocals! Without Scott a lot of the atmosphere on this album would be missing as I can’t immagine anyone that could transmit the evilness and rotten feeling that is required better than him!
Concluding, I usually tend to disagree with certain people who criticize Horrified as being repetitive and lacking the capability to stand side to side to classic albums. I reckon that there is plenty of variation to be found here! What we have here are songs with whirlwind-like riffs that will definitely make your neck bleed (Eaten Alive,Horrified) , blistering mid paced songs (Black Breath,Radiation Sickness) , and even proto death n roll traces (Bodily Dismemberment) ! As for its influence on the metal scene and durability in time, better ask bands like Napalm Death (who even today use the intro of Stench of burning death during their live performances!) , Mortician (who definitely had a real crush on how the bass sounded in Horrified,and even more…), Entombed (Black Breath cover and Radiation Sickness as Nihilist) and lots more who claim to have gained a lot from this underappreciated band! To sum up, even though they managed to release only a full length (and an ep), Repulsion is and should be acknowledged as a definite milestone in the history of extreme music.
Ah yes we got ourselves here the legendary album Horrified by the so called creators of grindcore and death metal Repulsion. Every time I listen to this album I usually think of the same questions over and over. Basic questions like why is considered good or why do people like this garbage. Or if I’m not asking myself these questions I’m usually making lame jokes about it like I was horrified to listen to the album, or this band is repulsing to listen to. But seriously in all, this album really, and I mean really, sucks.
Ok so according to their band page on MA; it says “Regarded as one of the cornerstones in extreme music and one of the innovators of the grindcore genre, influencing such bands as Carcass, Napalm Death, Terrorizer, etc.” Now I’m not a fan of Carcass, Napalm Death, or Terrorizer for that matter, so you can tell I wasn’t going to like the band they based their music off of. I thought that it would maybe be just those three bands that I wouldn’t like and that I would like the founders of the grind genre actually. Well, I was wrong. I really cannot get into this genre at all for some reason. All it is to me really is some annoying hardcore punk music. You got songs where the average length is about 1:30, the exact same song structure for every single song, horrible production, and lyrics that just plain blow. I mean you got songs on here called “Splattered Cadavers”, “Festering Boils”, and “Acid Bath”. To me they all sound like a bunch of teenagers sat in a basement thinking of lyrics that would be unpleasant to picture in your head.
The very first thing I notice while listening to the album was how on every song, the guitar sounds the exact same. How a band can turn an entire album into just one song is a greater mystery for even Scooby-Doo and his team of hippy friends to solve. Every song will open with the same guitar part which will play for the entire album. The rhythm guitar sounds kind of like early black metal Bathory or Venom style where the rhythm is the same for the songs, where it plays the same note over and over and doesn’t really change even in the verses. Only the actual tone of the guitar doesn’t have that demonic feeling to it like black metal, nor a heavy feel for that matter. It’s got an annoying gritty punkish aggression feel to it much like popular punk bands in the 80’s like The Misfits. The solos are different on each song but they last only like ten seconds so you can’t enjoy them, they just come and go. The fast pace of the guitar is what makes they somewhat enjoyable I guess.
The drumming, although it is very fast, mostly hits that metal tripod stand that the cymbals are attached to during the verse. I also noticed that they use blast beats. They feel misused and out of place for the whole album, as if that they don’t belong. Every song sounds the same however so it sounds like for every song the drummer is doing the same thing over and over. And when your band has drummer that hits the same two or three things over and over (Metallica) your music gets obnoxious very fast.
The vocals are a joke to me. They got that annoying hardcore punk attitude like “fuck you” in the feel of them. They also got these annoying short busts of anger going on like one second he’s pissed off and the other he’s fine. I also noticed that sometimes they do that thing where you can take a word that is normally pronounced in three syllables, and turn it into a two syllable pronunciation. And on top of that they sound soft and raspy on every song, as if the microphone was too far away from the vocalist or something, so the vocals kind of work as a background sound effect instead of as a main factor in the music.
The production is just brutal. It’s unclean, unpolished, and gritty. The bass is much distorted, which irks me a lot. The bass is audible which I find to be a nice aspect, but it’s played in an 80’s punk style where it’s louder than the guitars at some points. It is very hard for me to listen to all the songs, even if the album is under 30 minutes.
This album was a pretty tough listen for me. It annoyed me quite a lot I’m not going to lie. There’s no variety in this album whatsoever, every song is the exact same song only with a different title over it. The shitty production and the annoying vocals are what ruined it the most for me. Maybe I’m wrong, maybe that’s what this genre is supposed to be like. Well if so, then it’s nice to know that grindcore music sucks. That’s really the only good thing that came out if it for me, that and that it was a quick listen.
The album that created the very first grindcore movement, the album that created the proto gore grind and the album that influenced the future generation of death metal bands. This is Repulsion’s Horrified. Back in 1986 these guys were probably the most extreme thing on the Earth and their previous demos were a complete innovation for malevolence, putridity and speed. Nobody played like them in that period. Carcass and Napalm Death were still punkish in their style, while the only band that was close to them were Terrorizer, but they were not so rotten.
There’s, on the re-mastered CD case, a label with a written sentence: “ Repulsion is the band that introduced the world to insane blasting drums, bone-jarring distorted bass, and the most vile lyrics imaginable”. Well, I think that my whole review could finish here, because these words capture perfectly the content and the importance of this album. Great bands, such as Napalm Death, Carcass, Entombed and Cannibal Corpse were so influenced by this band.
Talking about the music here, in a more detailed description, we can find half an hour of totally madness grind. The blast beats are really ahead for the period but they are one of the most important thing in their sound. Try to imagine the faster up tempo by Cryptic Slaughter or S.O.D. brought to another level of speed and devastation. The guitars are not so extreme but they have that distortion that would be so famous among the future death metal bands: raw, down tuned and morbid. The vocals ala Cronos are perfect because are not annoying but they are truly extreme in the rough tonality, that I prefer instead of the terrible shrieks.
What always astonished me is the bass sound. I must admit that they were totally innovators for the period. It’s enough to listen to “Acid Bath” or “Festering Boils” to enjoy all the essence of a hyper distorted bass and brutal blast beats, occasionally broken by mid paced, sick parts. The solos are simple tremolo picking, to let flow all the anger and hostility. The parts in simple up tempo are still very influenced by the old Celtic Frost and the punk/hardcore movement, with moshing parts and sudden grind restarts. There’s no time to chill out because there’s not even a second of pause between the songs, forcing you to be annihilated by a sort of “single song” in a long journey through sickness and death.
Furthermore the production is perfect for a quantity of violence like this. All the instruments are very audible, conserving that underground, primitive sound they deserve to be so unique and unmistakable. Everything here smell of decomposition and check out the damn lyrics! They are completely new and shocking for the period with that gore content and twisted titles. Try to find out how many bands take their names from…
All in all, an outstanding piece of primordial gore grind. The one and only I like, because, going on, the new groups would have been too gore and extreme for my tastes; but if you want to know were pretty much all started, check this out. Primitive, narrow-minded music.
Not even close enough! Actually, I give this a solid 10/10 slaves of death.
Cheesy phrases aside, these pioneers of nasty music are the reason we love our underground very much. This entire album is in fact the soundtrack to the impending death of mankind. With excellent and erratic solos, which can only be found in 80's death/grind. When I hear this music, I get so pumped. Yet, at the same time, troubled, by how the stuff from then is any of the stuff you hear now. It is about time that bands like Repulsion are making their long awaited comeback, and gracing the stage of massive festivals such as the sixth installment of Maryland Death Fest, and having the honor to play with Swedish death masters At the Gates. You have to be a deprived of the extreme music life, to never have heard of a band as legendary of Michigan's own Repulsion. If you have have been, what the hell are you thinking?
There is no such thing as being too hyped up for a band such as this. The aggressive riffages, alongside disgustingly brilliant solos of Matt Olivo and Aaron Freeman, the razor edge feel of Scott Carlson's driving bass lines and the mastery of Dave "Grave" Hollingshead's D-beats and blast beats alike, are all the sure fire convincing you'll need to get into this crossfire of musician madness. 20-plus years ago, it was unthinkable that you could fuse something already angst-driven like hardcore punk and thrash metal, and create the most hated abomination to those who simply cannot understand and comprehend the sounds being pelted like maces to the gut.
All in all, an extremely impressive album. I am glad to have heard of this band, and ecstatic to be seeing them soon enough. If you haven't heard this opus of an album, I suggest that you do.
By 1986, the realm of metal music had already spawned what most metal fans had perceived to be some pretty extreme acts: Slayer, Metallica, Bathory, Kreator, Mercyful Fate, Venom....the list could go on and on. For many, it just didn't get any heavier or faster. Yet unbeknownst to many, in Flint, Michigan, was a little group called Repulsion.
Taking influence from such reknowned extreme metal bands like Possessed and Celtic Frost, as well as the hardcore of Discharge and Agnostic Front, and topping it off with a lyrical gangbang of blood, guts, zombies and gore, Repulsion turned all the knobs up to 11 and recorded an album of some of the fastest, most aggressive, blistering, face-melting music of all time.
Unfortunately, no record labels wanted anything to do with this presumed mess of blasting snare drum, grinding guitar and vocals that sounded like possessed Regan MacNeill from The Exorcist. The recording was distributed as a demo until 1989 when a label called Necrosis (run by Jeff Walker and Bill Steer of Carcass) decided to release it as a full-legnth called "Horrified".
Three years later, with extreme metal having progressed even further, and bands such as Napalm Death, Morbid Angel, Entombed and the aforementioned Carcass dominating the underground with their own unique brands of skull-crushing madness, "Horrified" still remained an unbelievable force to be reckoned with.
Its now been over 25 years since this devastating album was first released, and extreme metal music has grown beyond what anyone could have dreamed of back in the mid-80's. But nonetheless, "Horrified" still holds up well today and could still blow away any of today's pig-grunting, slam-breakdown laden death metal clones.
This album is nothing less than a genre defining - as well as defying - classic; one of those that is truly timeless and should be owned by every
extreme music fan.
I wasn't sure if reviewing this was really necessary, but the overall percentage wasn't what it should be: 100%. Repulsion is IT when it comes to grindcore. As you do or should know, they did it all before anybody else. Fucking fast whirlwind blastbeating drums before it was everywhere, heavy guitars before it was cool, sickening gore lyrics before they were plastered all over, and straightforward vocal delivery.
Their overall sound is chillingly great, as the drums blast away into one's brain the guitar riffs move blazingly fast. Another great thing about Horrified is the riffing: it's really old-school and simple. No technical guitar work here, Repulsion pump out grinding evil powerchords like the best of them amidst the flurries of hats, bass drums and snares. The fanciest thing coming out of Repulsion is the guitar solos that occasionally wail thrashy dissonance across Repulsion's sound spectrum (see the solo in "Raditation Sickness")
The bass gives a really nice low-end rumble to the music, just that more punch and icing on the cake. The guitars don't need to be super heavy because the bass is already providing the base for the fast guitar work and solos. The drums are also needless to say very fast, mostly blastbeats. However the drums for non-blast parts are also very well done, for example in "Black Breath" where the killer main riff takes off a song with no blastbeats whatsoever (the only like such on the entire album in fact).
If you don't own this, get it get it get it! Essential grindcore.
Well... what can one say about the legendary Repulsion? Chillingly morbid yet wickedly amusing, cacophanously brutal and relentlessly agressive, these men were rotten-hearted revolutionaries of music ('music' here being used in the loosest possible sense). If this album is not essential, then nothing is.
Firstly, this was recorded in 1986. 1986! Do you think Slayer or Dark Angel were about the most extreme thing around then? Think again. 'Horrified' makes 'Reign in Blood' or 'Darkness Descends' look like Jon Bon fucking Jovi in comparison; it's darker, faster, heavier, more agressive, more chaotic and more lyrically extreme whilst also being catchier and even more brutally to-the-point. From devastating blasts of relentless grindcore such as 'Eaten Alive' to insane thrashterpieces such as 'Black Breath', Repulsion fused the razor edge of Celtic Frost and Slayer with the dark brutality of Discharge and the manic speed of D.R.I, creating a work that redefined music. From the doomy intro riff of 'The Stench of Burning Death' through to that famous final yell of 'Fuck!' on 'Horrified', this remains a seminal influence on both death metal and grindcore.
However, all of this is worth nothing if the music cannot still stand up to scrutiny. Luckily however, this still sounds fresh, invigorating and utterly, gloriously violent! The production is excellent; meaty, echoing guitar and distorted-to-white-noise bass are mixed perfectly with the clattering drums and grating vocals. It's raw, atmospheric and heavy as all fuck. The songwriting is truly magnificent; keeping the 'songs' catchy and to the point, Repulsion vary things up nicely, alternating between exhausting speed-fests and headbanging thrash with aplomb - cliff-drop stops, violent tempo changes and sudden, cackling, shrieking guitar 'solos' (a leering mockery of virtuosity) hit with impunity from all sides. And then there are the riffs! Yes, that's correct - Repulsion are a grind band who actually had real riffs, courtesy of their myriad thrash influences. There are A LOT of riffs in here, and they vary from three-chord smashing to intricate thrashing. Repulsion know both how to bolt different riffsets together and how to flow between riffs, letting them modulate and evolve, a growing pestilent cancer. Nothing is wasted. Nothing is misplaced. You will bang your head until you vomit.
In twenty years, I don't believe that anyone has quite managed to better Repulsion's winning combination of slashing riffage, sheer brutality and sick catchiness. If you have even the slightest interest in death, grind or - hell - thrash, and you don't already own this classic, go and buy it RIGHT NOW. And no, I'm not being cute here; when I say 'now', I actually mean THIS VERY INSTANT. You even get a second cd featuring all of their early demos (back when they were Genocide), the 'Excruciate' EP and a later demo for a new album that was never finished. All in all there are 48 essential tracks here. Good value? More than that: this is mandatory.
Words cannot describe how intense this album is. From the fuzzy power chords that open 'The Stench of Burning Death' to the closing "Fuck!" of the title track, this album never lets up its chaotic assault on the senses. This album is a milestone in Extreme Music, and has been cited as a huge influence by legends such as Napalm Death, Carcass and Entombed. And make no mistake, this album is fucking fast. Reign In Blood, eat your heart out.
The riffs on this album are simple, thrashy and very raw. The rhythm guitar of Olivo and Freeman is well done, and they also throw in a number of guitar solos, which are very much in the vein of Slayer. They are a mess, but it works astoundingly well and I couldn't think of a better suited option, really. The guitar tone is very raw, with a touch of fuzz.
At first, the bass seems to be almost non-existent, until you realise the aforementioned fuzz is not purely from the lo-fi production. The bass on this album was recorded through a distortion pedal straight into a (probably very cheap) recorder. The result is a pulsating, fuzzy Bass sound unlike anything I've heard before. This works wonderfully as a compliment to the grinding guitars over the top. Sure, you can't really hear exactly what he is playing, but fuck, it sounds great!
Dave Grave's drumming on this album is very fast, and contains mostly your standard Thrash drumming, or a primitive sounding Blast Beat. Dave plays the classic style blasts, with only one kick drum and let me tell you, he sounds like an absolute maniac. Yeah, he can sound pretty sloppy at times, but it suits this album perfectly and I wouldn't have it any other way.
Scott Carlson's vocals are very raw and raspy, and he is one of my favourite vocalists. Think Massacre's Kam Lee, but not as deep, and that pretty much describes Scott's vocals. They are the perfect vehicle for the gory lyrical subject matter that Repulsion has. Song titles such as Maggots In Your Coffin, Splattered Cadavers, Festering Boils and Slaughter Of The Innocent speak for themselves, really.
- Awesome bass sound
- Sick vocals
- Manic drumming
- Raw as fuck
- None, unless you're a pussy
Maggots In Your Coffin
Six Feet Under
Slaughter of The Innocent
In summation, essential for any fans of Grind and/or Extreme Metal in general.
(originally written for http://www.sputnikmusic.com)
You've got to be fucking kidding me! This album is so original, brutal, efficient, fun, and fucking AWESOME that it makes my ears bleed in gratitude. I don't know a single metal album that I consider more of a must-own, for fans of any subgenre.
First off, I will say that I am a vinyl purist and generally dislike reissues. But this package is so complete that it not only makes up for my distaste but actually makes me glad to have the reissue instead. The essay by Laurent Ramadier is very complimentary and the notes by Scott Carlson give huge insight into EACH song. Also included is every Repulsion demo, copies of most of their flyers, and (somewhat hidden) a news clipping of drummer Dave Grave's run-in with the law for grave-robbing! Everything about the package spells out: "this is the real shit. Bow down right now." Which upon hearing this insane metal record, you shall.
Musically, these guys are just fucking monsters. As far as I know, this is the fastest record that had yet been released by 1986, and basically this album invented grindcore/goregrind. But I hesitate to even use the term "grind," because grind though it does, this album bears none of the atonal seriousness or mosh chunkiness of early 90s grindcore.....instead it comes out sounding as light-hearted as a fucking AC/DC record or something. The songs are all short and quick and violent, often with some serious tempo changes and mostly all about zombies and explicit death.....I know that sounds cliche now but on here it sounds totally fresh. Wasn't this the year "Heavy Metal Parking Lot" was made?
The riffs are huge and intensely engaging for something this fast, and I have a suspicion it's because most of the songs were written at slower tempos and speeded up.....unlike alot of stuff that came later when blastbeats were an accepted norm, these songs would probably sound good at any tempo. The guitar work is very grinding throughout and my only complaint about this record is you can't really hear the second guitarist, Aaron Freeman, except a weird buzzing sometimes....that's where my rating loses it's 1%. And the solos on this record rule! The fact that someone is even trying to solo on top of these songs is hilarious and most of them come off really well. The solo trade-offs in the middle of "Maggots in Your Coffin," the best song on the album, are especially sick.
Someone else described the bass on this as inhuman and I can't top that.....it gives a huge fuzz fog to the bottom end that is only pierced by the serial killer drumming of Dave Grave Hollingshead. The guy is just a maniac. Aside from keeping Napalm Death tempos for ENTIRE SONGS, his whole style is based around a super deadly swing beat that appears in a few different songs and gives some needed space to the rest of the sound, sort of like Bill Andrews' disco beats in the middle of Death songs. His tempo changes always destroy me and are always on point. There's no denying that this record is all about speed, but he makes speed seem way, um, faster, more brutal, and more fun than most records this fast tend to.
There really isn't a bad song on here, but I always find myself just listening to the last six tracks, maybe the best 11 minutes of metal I've ever heard. The intro on "Bodily Dismemberment" is a way better album opener than the recycled "Crack of Doom" riff on track 1, and basically these six songs lay down everything you need to know about the band. The best two songs ("Radiation Sickness" aside) are in these last six, including the legendary "Black Breath" which has no blastbeats but is about the fucking Nazgul from Lord of the Rings (!!!) and the catchiest goregrind sing-along ever, "Maggots in Your Coffin," which you should read about in the review beneath this one. The best slow parts are also in here, in "Horrified" and "The Lurking Fear." All this in the amount of time it takes to get ready to go to work.....hell yeah!
But don't get me wrong, this whole album is essential, and at less than half an hour it will bear out many, many repeated listens. Repulsion will fucking rip your guts out and leave you rotting and begging for more. HORRIFIED!!
This record is my religion. Or at least a major sacrament of whatever a religion should be. It scratches the unscratchable itch. It never fails to stun me. I think it may be the only record I own that fills that function.
But even given the prize piggery of it all, it's got to get a 99% rather than 100 because: despite the most perfect intro chordage of all time, "The Stench of Burning Death" is just not first song material. I would guess they put it there because maybe they wanted to emphasize the lightning-ness of their speed right from the get-go; and lightning it is, but it just isn't one of the more powerful songs. During the first song, I might think: did I put on the right record?, but then: "Eaten Alive" eats my ass alive and it's off to the races! Understand -- these songs fall into three categories: fast, incredibly fast, and beyond comprehension. Whatever seems mid-paced in context is still FAST in reality. "Eaten Alive" is somewhere between incredibly fast and beyond comprehension, and here -- track 2 -- is when I start playing them air drums! Keeping in mind that apart from this record I do not ever play any air instruments. A superspeed senseless beating of a riff and a proto-blast-beat.
But I don't want to get into every single song. Let's just review the highlights.
"Slaughter of the Innocent" gives away their crusty vibe. Don't get me wrong, Horrified is mostly about zombies chewing face, exploding boils and all that. But as they were a band that played mainly in the hardcore scene (they were extremely extreme for metal in 1986) they clearly bear the scars of Discharge, GBH and DRI just for starters. Thusly this song is about the scheming minds of corporate tyrants... very nice... but what matters here is the meat hook riff and the insane martial cadence of the vocals. If this song doesn't claw your face off, then you should continue on with the rest of the almost 20-minutes long album.
"Radiation Sickness" is by far my favorite song. Repulsion is best known for predating/inventing/inspiring grindcore and/or death metal, but as such it's MOST noteworthy that guitarist Matt Olivo knows his way around a sick-ass and dare I say catchy riff; not to mention the mechanics of how to make velocity your friend. "Radiation Sickness" is all about the riff, the lyrics expounding upon the business of rotting whilst still alive, and velocity, velocity, velocity! Drummer Dave Grave gives the band so much of their power -- it's not just super-fast AND powerful, it's also punctuated by the best stop-start fills I have ever heard in the loud/fast music realm.
I used to take care of this teenager with cerebral palsy and I hooked him on this record. It was a beautiful thing to see, because this kid really did have so much rage inside (imagine if you had a normal brain otherwise, but had to depend on others to do every single thing FOR you, including wipe your ass) that he really related. "Maggots in Your Coffin" was his favorite song, and I wish I could convey my memories of him gleefully spazzing out and unintelligibly (except to me) yelling "you are!rotting!maggots!in your coffin!" over and over again. It's that kind of song. Cathartic fucking overdrive.
"Horrified" was always their set closer and you can see why. So fast that it's practically psychedelic. Lyrics describing (naturally) a terrified state and hellish visions; now, I have never been one that cared for lyrics of gore and carnage, I never liked Cannibal Corpse even, but I love it out of Repulsion, and I mean Repulsion only. With other bands this shit is just subject matter. Repulsion were really making their own path -- I mean Reign in Blood came out the same year and this sounds like two Reigns in Blood fistfighting each other. "Horrified" (the song and the whole of the album) closes with the very same vocalism that ends several other songs: an enraged and clenched-teeth "fuck!"
I can't call this kind of record a "masterwork," or "classic," or anything connoting dignity, because Horrified does not call for dignity, it's a beast and it calls for a fucking fleabath. And the fact is that it's a beast I hug close to me; never will I let it go. Not death metal in the strict sense... or else it is, in which case I wish it was the only death metal record ever released. All young males should be issued this record. Then they can have a discussion group about their feelings.
From the very first blast beat Repulsion’s only album, Horrified is a raging album that leaves everything else in shreds. Originally recorded in ’86, but released in 1989, many would be quick to label Repulsion as a Napalm Death/Carcass rip-off, but what those people wouldn’t know is that Repulsion’s early ‘86 demo (under the Genocide moniker) chronologically puts Repulsion at the same starting point as the aforementioned godfathers of grind from the UK. But enough with the history lesson for now, as we will get back to the Genocide demos later.
Instead, let’s try to put “Horrified” into prospective. The first album that comes to mind upon examining a possible example that would serve well to convey this album is most-likely Napalm Death’s “Scum” for the simple fact that the two share many similarities between them, the most dominant commonplace being the blast beat and hardcore influence, the least being the two bands’ lyrics. In that case a reference to Carcass is much more pertinent, whilst not quite on target. But Repulsion is much more than simple references, it is an amalgamation of different styles, ranging from early thrash ala Slayer to early traces of death metal and of course hardcore.
The intro to the opening track, “The Stench of Burning Death” is reminiscent of British crust/hardcore, at least until the song picks up. At that point we start entering grind territory. The vocals, which are a distant shriek, much in the vein of all early death metal, the insanely fast guitar work and even more preposterous drumming, the violent tempo changes, the raw production, the fuzzy bass, the chaotic solos and the gore/horror themed lyrics (which occasionally are rather humourous) all lay down the groundwork for what makes Repulsion the band that it was. All in all it’s probably a defining track for the band’s sound, yet some elements and sides of the band aren’t obvious from the initial taste of “Horrified”. Many songs, such as “Decomposed”, “The Lurking Fear” and “Bodily Dismemberment” all have a certain thrash vibe to them, in some cases Slayer comes to mind. On the other hand, many songs are more of a clash between hardcore and metallic riffs, “Pestilent Decay” has a brutal stop and start structure that really amplifies the intensity of the track while “Repulsion” grabs hold and doesn’t relent as it just keeps on pounding away with blast beats, not to mention it having some of the albums more nasty lyrics, featuring rabid dogs, maggots, vomit, oozing pus, zombies, corpses and a rotten, aborted fetus with a hanger through it’s head, utterly fantastic.
In some ways the album is a bit over the top as the occasional track strikes the listener as already covered territory, but Repulsion also had a way of making room for Hellhammer/Celtic Frost and Master influences, so it never gets boring. “Radiation Sickness” has a killer death metal vibe that’s just as heavy as any other track without resorting to the proverbial blast beat for the whole duration of the song, not to say that there isn’t any blasting in there for good measure. “Driven to Insanity” once again takes a thrashy edge and mixes it with abrasive metal riffing, monstrous bass and slow pounding drums before going into a pummeling overdrive. The slow grinding “Festering Boils” kicks off with a very harsh bass intro that sounds like a chainsaw, once again taking hardcore and metal and mixing it into it’s own unique sound, while “Black Breath” takes it a step further and totally dismisses the blast beats in favour of a thrashy, slow grinding song that absolutely reeks of Slayer, with it’s distorted bass it’s still as unyielding as any other track that you could single out. The album closes with the title-track, which is just as uncompromising and defining as the album’s opener, yet slightly more diverse as it’s crushing mid-paced section towards the ends really goes for the listener’s jugular.
“Horrified” is just as essential a listen for any grind freak as Napalm Death’s and Carcass’ first two albums, if not more so. Relentless, uncompromising, insane, extreme and downright wrong, “Horrified” will ram you and leave you for dead. I simply cannot recommend this enough.
Along with the 2003 re-issue of “Horrified” comes a second CD full of great rarities and extras:
GENOCIDE 11/84 Rehearsal Demo
Before Repulsion would start playing at breakneck speeds, this rehearsal (recorded on a portable cassette) gives only bit of an impression of what is to come from the band in the future. The solos aren’t as chaotic, there are a couple of mid-paced sections in these tracks and most importantly there are no blast beats. It’s actually a bit like early Venom on steroids, not bad, but in face of what’s to come rather irrelevant.
Death Demo Autumn ‘85
Recorded on a portable cassette like the first demo, it sounds just as shitty, but the band’s songs are picking up speed at this point. The vocals are more of a distant yell than those on the first demo and on future recordings, also the bass sounds rather normal, for lack of better word. A few of the tracks later appear on “Horrified”, the only significant difference here is the absence of blast beats from those very tracks.
GENOCIDE WFBE Demo 1/26/86
As mentioned earlier, this demo is the first recording to provide a more established sound for the band. The overall product is definitely something groundbreaking for it’s time. All but two tracks from this demo would appear on “Horrified”, which would explain why it sounds a lot like it to begin with. All the elements are present, the blast beats, the fast guitar work, yet it just doesn’t feel as chaotic as Repulsion’s debut. In some ways the production is better on this demo, but for all it’s worth, it doesn’t have as much feeling as “Horrified”. But despite that minor fault, it’s still punishing and easily stands on it’s own.
GENOCIDE Live 5/14/86
Not much to say about these two tracks, the sound is pretty messy, but still manages to capture a great live performance from the band. It’s neither here nor there, really.
REPULSION Excruciation EP/Demo
Repulsion’s next release after “Horrified”, “Excruciation”, despite being a lot more focused on a certain sound, it just doesn’t hold the same thrill as the legendary debut. There is more structure to these tracks as they don’t stray away from pure death metal. The songs have a more rhythmic approach to them as well as more mid to fast-paced sections, even a couple of solos that don’t sound like an animal being raped by a horse. All in all the only track that really stands out in “Helga (Lost Her Head)”, both musically and lyrically.
REPULSION 1991 Final Demos
Last but not least, these are the tracks that tantalise with the promise of a future that would never happen. To quote the linear notes, “the blast beat is back”. What we have here is a band that’s ready to take over the underground world.
”Depraved” is a fast, brutal track that’s once again pure death metal. With blast beats and deep growls unlike anything to have ever been released by the band, “Depraved” relentlessly sets the tone for the next two tracks. “Face of Decay” is much like the first track, but rather starts with a slow doomish intro before culminating into a chaotic maelstrom of speed. Ending, “Something Dead” is another fast track that moves in and out of slow doom like sections that pummel the listener. The overall production is pretty rough but, had these sessions made it to a full length, they could have been quite imposing. If only interest in this band hadn’t waned, they could have really had something here.
(Note: I am reviewing the Relapse re-release)
Repulsion is truly one of THE cult metal acts. Their name was known all over the tape trading underground as early as 1985 and despite their enormous influence and underground following, they couldn't get signed and officially release any material - that is, they couldn't until 1989 when Bill Steer and Jeff Walker of Carcass fame decided to put this amazingly awesome death/grind/thrash classic out on their Necrosis label. For 1989 this is still quite abrasive, raw and just fucking good, but the most mind bending fact about this album is that is was originally recorded in 1986, a full three years before it was released in any sort of meaningful capacity. This is THE original grindcore album, before Napalm Death, before Carcass, Brutal Truth, Entombed, or any other band touted by Earache's grind period. Not only are Repulsion the first grind band, but they are also the first band with over the top gore-laden lyrics. One can even argue that Repulsion were the first pure death metal band. While Death were basically thrash with harsher vocals, Repulsion incorporated much more of what we see in modern death metal: vicious blast beats, relentless speed, and a flurry of noise. Repulsion effectively set the ground for all death metal to follow. Hell, one need only look at the song titles to understand just how influential Repulsion were - "Splattered Cadaver," "Acid Bath," "Six Feet Under" - all band monikers lifted from this one Repulsion album.
But Horrified is more than just influence. It is an all out awesome record. It's raw, it's brutal, and it just fucking rocks. Drawing on a range of influences like Hellhammer, Slaughter, and Discharge, Repulsion infused elements of all these acts, threw in a lot of feedback and distortion and a lyrical bloodbath to create a legendary wall of noise that is still relevant today. If anyone witnessed them at this past Maryland Deathfest they can attest that the sheer intensity of their music has not faded with time. The best part of all this? Relapse has released this almost impossible to find classic on two discs. The first disc is Horrified in all its original raw glory, and the second disc is chock full of rarities, from their 1984 demo released when they were still called Genocide, all the way to some demos they recorded in 1991.
The second disc is the real treat in this deal; along with some wonderfully written liner notes, the rarities disc gives an aural history of the evolution of this cult group. The first three tracks from Genocide's rehearsal demo are entirely indecipherable and would put any wannabe "cult" black metal band to shame with their ghetto recording techniques. Even though it is just a massive wall of distortion one has to appreciate the sheer sonic intensity of it all. As the tracks progress the songwriting gets better, the demo production improves just enough to make the music understandable. We even get treated to a pair of live tracks from May of 1986, which sound absolutely amazing. All in all this re-release is extremely well done, as all the re-releases Relapse has been behind have been, and is a must for anyone who doesn't have the original Repulsion releases.
Originally Published @ www.metaljudgment.com (c) 2004
1986 was an excellent year for metal. All four of the Big Four of Thrash released albums. Several lesser–known bands like Overkill and Dark Angel put out stunning albums. And one of the all time underground extreme metal greats was recorded.
Repulsion's 'Horrified' earned a status among tape traders almost equal to that of Hellhammer and Metallica in their heyday. And so it should have.
This was Death Metal before Death Metal. At the time, Death Metal was nothing more than an offshoot of Thrash, still in an embryonic state. 'Horrified' burst straight in and laid waste to all around it. The standard of production is incredibly good, shaming many which followed, like early Napalm Death, Carcass and Death.
What makes this album so outstanding is its extremity. It melded blistering speed (including blast beats), chunky guitars, death grunt vocals, and gory lyrics, providing the blueprint for countless bloodthirsty hordes of Gore Metal bands to follow. A lot of the song titles have reappeared since– "Six Feet Under", "Splattered Cadavers", "Acid Bath".
The songs generally rumble along at a constant velocity. Drummer Dave Grave (don't think he's related to the Sadistik Exekution bass player of the same name) mashed up the mix to keep it interesting, throwing in some impressive blasts. There is also the odd sparse guitar solo, similar to what Carcass produced on 'Symphonies of Sickness'. Yngwie Malmsteen it is not, but the off kilter guitar noises produced add an interesting flavour.
Like a majority of Death Metal vocalists, trying to decipher what the hell Scott Carlson is on about is nigh on impossible. On the odd occasion though, the vocals clear up a little, to good effect, particularly on the classic "Maggots In Your Coffin".
Not gaining a decent release until six years after it was recorded, Repulsion kind of missed the boat when Death Metal burst forth from the rotted corpse of Thrash. However, their influence is undeniable– Death, Autopsy, Napalm Death, Carcass, Necrophagia, Mortician, Suffocation. Chances are, if you are listening to a Gore Obsessed Death Metal band, Repulsion has been an influence somewhere along the line.
This album blows away all preconceptions about extreme metal.
To think that this kind of noise was being turned out in the mid-eighties is almost unbelievable. Just a few years after Metallica and Slayer popped onto the scene, the members of Genocide are already taking that new form of heavier sound and butchering it for all its worth.
This cd is as complete as it can be on the past history of the first true grindcore outfit. It has demos galore, and some newer stuff added in too. To be honest though, the demos are weakly produced, and some of them are just a pure barrage of bass and drums.
But lets not detract from this fine album. The nice thing about the accompanying booklet is foot notes that give little insights into the thinking of the songs and their arrangements and ideas. Ok. So the idea was to write about people being horribly butchered, burnt or eaten by zombies, but hey...thats half the fun. If you can't have a laugh, what have you got?
The songs don't blur into each other quite like I was expecting. (I had a few of their tracks on tape and they seemed quite similar, so I was aprehensive). Unlike Carcass's first full length (in my opinion) these tracks really do have individual feeling and structure. I was expecting a 'Scum' style montage of white noise and fuzz bass with no begining or end, just little breaks to breath.
There is some fuzz bass on this don't get me wrong, but its cool intro fuzz bass, thats opens for some bad as fuck riffs and chaotic drum sections.
The opener, The Stench of Burning Death, raps off a few intro bars and then lets you have it both barrels with blast beats that defy description. Its just one big thrash of speed and ...well, more speed.
The vocals on an initial listen seem a bit weak, almost cross over thrash/death style. But once you play this album a few times they fit very very nicely into the scheme of things. And lets not forget Chuck Schuldiner's vocal talents were not exactly "Chris Barnes" grunts when Death first started off either. Both bands share some history, but like it says in the booklet, Repulsion knew they were heading in a different direction to Chuck when their songs constantly involved zombie gore lyrics and cramp inducing drum blasts!
Radiation Sickness is one of my personal favorites. It has some clean moments and the vocals complement the track very well.
But hell, this album is all about the grind, so for that you really need to listen to The Lurking Fear and Horrified for all out brum smashing, riff melding carnage. The little addition of..."Fuck" at the end of the last track (title track) completes, what is for me a bizarrely underproduced, yet totally addictive album.
You know when you put your favorite death metal album on and you come over all aggressive and emotional (well maybe its just me)?
This album makes me like that. And that in my book is FANTASTIC thing indeed.
God Damn! This album is just constant speed and intensity from beginning to end. Imagine Slayer, Celtic Frost(pre-Avaunt Garde days), and Discharge on a speeding train on a crash course for a village full of blood thirsty zombies, that aren't slow and dimmited, but fast and haven't eaten flesh for at least a year, and you have this damn album! Constant headbanging! This has to be the most extreme(and underrated) release of the 80's. This is total grindcore. If you think Napalm Death were the first grindcore band, you're wrong! ND totally ripped off Repulsion! Muddy yet audible production is what is on display here, in gigantic doses. There is no let up on this album! Damn, I feel as I'm repeating myself but I just can't help it! All the lyrics on the album are about gore(before gore lyrics became cliche). The bass sound on this is just inhuman. The reason this got a 96 instead of a perfect 100 is that some of the songs sound the same unless you listen really closely. This deserves your attention the whole way through. If you call yourself a grindcore fan, and do not own those album, then you do not know grindcore! This the first, best and best grindcore release ever, and probably the only grindcore album you'll ever need. Hail Repulsion! My head still hurts from head banging so god damn much along with the album.
Napalm Death's Scum was the foundation for political grindcore, Horrified was the foundation for gore grind. It is unfortunate that Napalm led a long and successful career full of accolades and recognition, while Repulsion had a few of their songs covered by.... Napalm Death. Horrified is relentless... 16 tracks of scathing grind and sick lyrics that predate carcass by a year or two and pound "Reek" like a red headed stepchild.
This is grindcore. Ground zero.
The guitar tone is gritty as fuck, yet audible... little to no technical prowess, but ain't that the beauty of grind and it's forebearers? Just play as fast and straightforward as possible. Drums = unstoppable blasts that are unfortunately buried in the mix. Imagine Slayer mixed with DRI circa Dealing With It, plus a fuckload of aggression.
Standout tracks = Radiation Sickness, Eaten Alive, Maggots in Your Coffin, and Black Breath, the only somewhat midpaced song (later covered by Entombed). You don't know grind until you know REPULSION m/. Nuff said