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Grind Landmark - 95%

Stained Glass Assassin, March 1st, 2019
Written based on this version: 2003, 2CD, Relapse Records (Reissue)

When it comes to landmark or defining moments in the history of heavy metal, there are a handful of albums that people will always mention. Whether it’s Black Sabbath’s debut, Maiden’s “Number of the Beast” or Metallica’s “Master of the Puppets”, (to name a few) such albums need no debate relating to their importance to heavy metal. However, there are other landmark albums, that for one reason or another, seemingly get overlooked, yet are no less important to heavy metal’s history. Repulsion’s, “Horrified” is one such album

In the late 80’s, various circles of hardcore punk were undergoing extensive changes to their sound that would ultimately lead to the birth of the grindcore genre. Repulsion (who began as a thrash/death outfit Genocide) would set their sights on a much faster paced style of music that many other bands were transiting to, but wanted to leave their own mark on the sound. Now, among the pioneers of grindcore, Napalm Death is by far the most cited and the most successful of the bunch. That being said, you won’t’ find many grindcore fanatics that would argue that “Horrified” was as important, if not more so than any of the other grindcore releases of that time.

As for the album itself, this is 18 tracks of primal, raw grindcore in its purest form. A non-stop assault of sound and energy that begins the moment you press play and only ends when the final second is reached. It would be very hard to try and describe the sound of this album without turning this into a George R.R. Martin novel, but the music is equal parts of relentless, barbaric and pulsating elements, mixed together and complied into an album.

Now, for 18 tracks clocking in under 30 minutes, you probably already know what you’re getting yourself into. The songs here are indeed, short blasts of speedy aggression, but that would be a generic description. Let’s face it, there are plenty of modern day grind and gore grind bands that cram some exorbitant number of tracks onto an album, many of which are 30 seconds or less. The problem is, many of those acts can easily become forgettable, as those songs simply fail to create anything in the way of substance or memorable. That’s the biggest difference between those grind acts and “Horrified”. Each track easily stands out on its own, which is accomplished through a very concise and creative song writing, which allows the music to be fast and furious, but never becomes dull or repetitive.

The first thing that jumps out at you is how each instrument manages to create its own identity on this album. The guitars can be cleanly heard on each track, especially when they rip off short, but sweet solos. The bass, which not only for grindcore is very noticeable, but also for the time, being audible, is nothing short of brilliant. The drums play with an insane tempo, pounding away with blast beats and crashes that leave your head spinning. Of course, Scott Carlson’s vocals need to have a special mention, as they truly help bring everything together in this landmark album. Of course, hearing each instrument is an accomplishment in and of itself, but harmonizing with one another to create such chaotic bliss, is amazing.

“Horrified” may not get the accolades that Iron Maiden or Judas Priest may have achieved in the annals of heavy metal history, but it’s importance cannot be overlooked. Death metal and grindcore fans alike should not miss out on hearing this album if they haven’t already done so. You will quickly hear the influence this record had on the likes of Napalm Death, Terrorizer and Extreme Noise terror and it won’t take long to see why “Horrified” is held is such high regards.

As a bonus, if you happen to seek out the 2-disc reissue, you will get all of the bands recordings from their Genocide days as well as Repulsion’s final demos. To summarize briefly, the recordings from the Genocide tapes are raw and primitive works. Nothing that will knock your socks off, but an interesting listen nonetheless. You’ll hear the sound that would be reworked and morphed into Repulsion, but at the time, it was some pretty groundbreaking material as not many other acts were recording such a heavy and aggressive sound. As for the remaining Repulsion demos, the music is a glimpse of what might have been. Granted, these were demos, so they don’t sound as crisp as a final product, but for fans, it’s a least more material to sink your teeth into and enjoy. Either way, a very nice addition to the original disc for sure.

Highlights: (As with many grindcore albums, this is best listened to as a whole, but if I had to choose) “The Stench Of Burning Death” “Maggots in Your Coffin” “Horrified”

Into the Abyss of Oblivion