Author: Brendan Blake
- Artist: Abhorrence
- Album: Megalohydrothalassophobic (EP)
- Year of Release: 2018
- Country: Finland
- Label: Svart Records
- Format: Jewelcase CD
- Catalogue Number: SVR174CD
So this is Abhorrence’s return after a nearly 30 year absence to, let’s be honest, little or no notice. Despite prior connections to big names Amorphis and Impaled Nazarene, Abhorrence left behind a well-regarded EP and demo, and one stone-cold classic of a song in the form of ‘Vulgar Necrolatry’, actually immortalised by another band (guitarist Tommi Koivusaari’s subsequent act Amorphis), but not a great deal else. So in 2018 what was the point of bringing back Abhorrence as a viable entity? Any number of bands have reformed over the decades for a multitude of reasons, but financial is unlikely to be one in this case. Various old school death metal bands have got back together to tour the festival circuit, including Carcass and At The Gates, who have both legitimised that decision by releasing killer new albums. A number of other old-school death metallers have created their own projects to rediscover their past loves (Bloodbath and Vallenfyre spring to mind), and a number of bands in recent years have gone back to their roots to greater or lesser critical acclaim (see: Metallica, Paradise Lost).
So is the new Abhorrence any good? Thankfully, the answer is a resounding yes. This 5-track EP reminds you that the EP format is the bedrock of the death and grind scene. It opens with a suitably old-school ominous spoken-word intro that prefaces a concept-driven collection of songs based around the works of HP Lovecraft (not a new source of inspiration for metal lyricists, but absolutely pushes all of my buttons; the neologism “megalohydrothalassophobic” means a morbid fear of very deep stretches of open water).
As soon as ‘Anthem For The Anthropocene’ kicks off, we are back in reassuringly old school death metal territory, albeit with a far thicker sound than the original EP or demo (who would have thought?). They probably wouldn’t like the comparison, but there is an undeniable similarity to the classic Sunlight Studios-produced Swedeath of the early 90s, and ‘The Four Billion Year Dream’ instantly recalls Slayer of old, an influence that pervades the rest of the EP. The vocals are typical gruff death metal – nothing remarkable, but certainly fit for purpose. There is plenty of melody and even groove in here to remind listeners that even death metal bands need to actually write songs, and there is much to love here for fans of early Amorphis, Grave, Entombed or Funebre.
Not essential listening, but far far better than a disgrace to the name of the band. A well worthwhile listen for fans of decent, well-played and –executed Finnish death metal of the early 90s. Recommended for fans of the style.