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The perfect storm - 99%

AngeldeathGreg, August 22nd, 2010

Abhorrence is a brutal death metal band from Brazil. However, while the obvious conclusion every reader of that statement is indeed correct, that they are hugely similar to Krisiun, I have to say, that the musical results and overall presentation created by Abhorrence tops Krisiun. These guys have assumed the reign abdicated by Krisiun that begun with the release of Ageless Venomous, which was a good album marred by bad production, and indicative of a major shift in Krisiun's sound. Thats not to say their current work is BAD, its just different. And for all those who mourn the death of old Krisiun, Abhorrence come sweeping in as The Savior of all things hyperblast.

The sound is what you will expect: lots of insanely fast blast beats, speedy double bass grooves, and hurricane-force lava solos (Trey Azagthoth's unique terminology for the chaos he conjures from his guitar). There aren't many slower mid-paced grooves, its pretty much all blitzkrieg, all the time. However, Abhorrence does something that Krisiun never really seemed to figure out: how to effectively inject variety and character into a musical landscape dominated by such a single-minded technique (blast beats and double bass grooves).

Here we learn of Abhorrence's other primary influence: Morbid Angel. The cool thing here, though, is that they don't sound like Morbid Angel. Rather, they take their characteristic rythmic lurching and herky-jerkiness and use that to spice up their blast beat segments. It makes for a lot of cool, memorable grooves that would otherwise be very boring.

Production-wise, the album is great, for the style of music that Abhorrence plays. Its a 'light' sound, if that makes sense. Everything is clear and presence and has body, but is not bogged down by excessive low end. Its just heavy enough so that when the band relents from blasting, you can feel the heaviness when the guitarists palm-mute and play thrash riffs, but it doesn't overwhelm the overall atmosphere. Tone-wise, they're more towards the scooped-mid sound of Suffocation's "Pierced From Within" and Deicide's s/t album. And, strangely, I detect a hint of the signature Swedish honky-ness of the Boss HM-2 Heavy Metal distortion pedal, brought to world-wide fame by Entombed, Dismember, Bloodbath, Interment, etc.

The main problem with the guitars, though, is the scooped-mid aspect: they mesh with the hi-hat and crash cymbals to create a big wash of sound. This could have been a deliberate action, but thats the problem with removing midrange from a guitars EQ; mids are the only thing the human ear can really hear when combined with the lower frequencies of bass guitars and kick drums, and the hi-end hiss of hi-hats and other cymbals. This is why Slayer and Morbid Angel records sound so good: they actually pump the mids up a little bit. It allows the guitar to really stand out as its own entity within the mix, letting each instrument to be heard separately and allowing them to breathe together to create a cohesive overall mixture of sounds.

Aside from the guitars, the main sonic feature here, however, is the kick drums. They sort of dominate the mix, and are quite up-front. They are triggered, but not annoying. The mix is so deep and murky that in order for them to be discerned at all, amidst the rip-snorting speed and blazing attack of this band's music, they kind of have to be triggered, otherwise it would be completely lost and would result in a horrible mix. The snare is a little bit buried in the mix, being drowned out slightly by the hiss of the hi-hat and cymbals, but you can hear it.

Overall, though, the sound is great. I took away a point because of the final mix; the guitars should have had a little mid-range pumped into them to allow the drums to come out more as an individual instrument. As it is now, they kind of mesh with the cymbals and hi-hats to form a sort of blanket over the mix. Its not harsh or oppressive, and does not detract from the music, but I just think it would have been a prudent decision on the producer/engineer's end to help make the record sound just that much better.

This album is fantastic, though. If you love speed, blast beats, deep vocals, crazy guitar, and an overall sense of evil and foreboding, you have to pick this up. Krisiun was a pioneering band, and I like their material, but I find myself coming back to this album way, way, way more than any Krisiun album. Its just a shame these guys have had so many personal problems, keeping them from putting out anything other than a couple splits following this release. They could totally become a huge force in the underground, and rightly deserve to rise to fame. They inject a unique sense of character and identity into a style that is so easily mired in mediocrity, blandness, unoriginality, and continually rehashed ideas.