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Unquestionably one of the best grind albums ever. - 97%

toofargone, December 7th, 2004

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.