Prior to this, the only other Abhorrence that I know of is Brazil’s death metal squad, after their split with Impiety. Apart from that, there is the little known band out of the same name from Finland as well, releasing only a single demo and EP in 1990 before splitting up shortly after that. This year Svart Records finally releases the long overdue compilation, containing both the demo and the EP, along with a couple of live and rehearsal tracks.
The band lists an whole host of old-school Swedish death metal bands as influences, and this is clearly heard throughout, especially through the abrasive guitar tone that is so prominent in the early releases of Swedish death metal bands such as Entombed and Nihilist, topped by the at times intentionally sloppy, d-beat style of drumming as well. But Abhorrence manages to create a rather distinctive sound of their own, rather than simply stick to the tried and tested Swedish death metal formula, and at times influences from American bands such as Suffocation become clear as well, with a more technical style of playing by the band, giving a slightly more diverse sound compared to the newer bands playing old school death metal that stick to a single style or influence. The bass is also surprisingly audible on the EP tracks, and gives a nice low-end groove to the music. There is also the alternation between short, faster-paced tracks and slower and more intense moments, such as on Caught in a Vortex, where the slower segments seem to mark the impending doom of mankind. Furthermore, I also can’t help drawing comparisons with the band’s Finnish counterparts such as Archgoat, especially with the monstrous vocals, the crushing atmosphere and the haunting introductory tracks, and this is clearer on the demo tracks on the compilation, though less blasphemous and less crushing.
This being a compilation of songs from different sources, the production quality of the tracks vary. While the production of the EP and demo tracks are rather raw, the individual instruments remain rather clear with none being buried in the mix, retaining the old school feel in the music. The production on the demo tracks are probably my favourite, with the dark and heavy atmosphere that is constantly present. Perhaps the weaker points, sound-wise, on Completely Vulgar are the live tracks that are included, with the guitars often being buried beneath the drums and vocals, resulting in a rather muddy sound. That said though, the energy that is in the air on the live tracks are stunning, and this makes up slightly for what is lacking in the sounds department.
Despite the band putting their demo and EP on their website for free download, Completely Vulgar provides a more fulfilling experience with the bonus tracks that are included. The live tracks display the band’s energy in their performances and their true ability as a band, and these certainly make this compilation worthwhile.