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Nine and a half minutes? How much can you really get done? Tiamat's predecessor Treblinka's only non-demo release Severe Abominations is examined in absurd detail:
Nine and a half minutes of old school black/ death metal bliss and near-epitome. Throaty growls from a man who would later take to wearing eyeliner and singing about how we should all "vote for love", razoring tight riffs and the only kind of solo appropriate for this type of thing - meandering, directionless, rapid and fairly extraneous while still being thoroughly enjoyable. The drums are cacophonous with loads of bass and hissing snare, and like everything else mixed to perfection - admirable clarity here.
'Earwigs in Your Veins' (what a song title) starts with groovy, bending riffs before spilling into the rattling verse with its fiery riffs and guttural, cigarette-scoured vocals. The tempo changes and sheer amount of inspiration in this 3:44 song is awesome; the evil tread of the mid-section blows up into a Mustaine-like guitar solo that scatters notes every which way. The ominous thunder of Tiamat's early days and songs like 'Ancient Entity' was only glimpsed at by this EP, which has a less thick guitar tone and all-round faster pacing.
The second track is by far the best with its explosions into machine-gun death metal with guitars that sound like a swarm of bees. After the spooky distorted rambling that ends 'Earwigs', a lead-in and opening break very much like Grave sees cocky guitar riffs over rumbling, rolling drums and eventually the explosion into death metal riffing that Nirvana 2002 would adopt with such class later on. The chorus is oddly catchy, definitely hummable with a refrain that sounds like something Sabbat might have done a few years later.
An essential find for those who love Tiamat's early, early days and want to trace even further back, as well as lovers of old school death metal and black metal in general, and also for people who just don't really like having albums with any colour on the cover. These days of Treblinka/ Tiamat are pretty much gone, unless you want to sacrifice some quality and listen to Mr. Death. Johan Edlund didn't even show for the release of that lovely Swedish Death Metal book, the miserable bastard!