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Form A Church Around This Record - 99%

GasGiant, April 15th, 2005

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.