REPUGNANT - Epitome of Darkness (SOULSELLER Records - LP 2006)
I don't think there were that many new bands and albums, which came out in new millennium of 2000's that made such a big impact on the death metal scene as Repugnant's "Epitome of Darkness" did. Sincerely I think this band and album, together with Daniel Ekeroth's "Swedish death metal" book is responsible for influencing a bunch of youngsters to play this obscure style with passion and style, which haven't been seen since the early 90's! Repugnant and "Epitome of Darkness" probably also directed them to take the image of cult horror movie freaks, with all the empty tombs, zombies and stench of cadaver around it, by writing some cool, horror lyrics and using an adequate front covers (best are hand painted, not a photoshop shit and which include as many corpses and graveyard crosses as possible, as well as some guts and other disgusts). And let's not forget about dressing up in the old school death metal way, possibly with some corpse paint. Arghh, but I'm not going to complain on that - Repugnant did show how a real death metal should sound and look like and if it provoked many youngsters to form their own zombie crews, then why not? I think this band did something not many wanted to do at the time and this is why I praise them! And I they have some followers, then personally I can only be happy about it, as I love such style.
And "Epitome of Darkness"... Well, I absolutely loved "Hecatomb" EP, which to this day belongs to my favourite death metal releases of all time. But I've waited for a full length impatiently also, hoping to get smashed with a bigger dose of morbid death metal. The album has been recorded already back in 2002 and I have no idea why, but it took them four or five year to release it! What a blasphemy - which pisses me off even more because at the time of the actual release of the album Repugnant has already split up! Anyway, I managed to get the vinyl copy as soon as it was released, wonderfully released with two fuckin' huge posters and great layout!
Music wise this is old school and traditional to the bone death metal with a slight thrashing influence of the 80's / early 90's. If you exhume old albums such as "Seven Churches", "Hell Awaits", "Left Hand Path" (as well as Nihillist demos!), "The Awakening", "Endless Pain", "Horrified", "Scream Bloody Gore" or "Severed Survival" and mix them up, then you may get a picture of how does these morbid tunes sound like. I'm telling you, it's amazing. Already the 100% analogue production brings the chills, it's so raw, energetic, warm, but at times it's noisy and slightly chaotic, but it's not the usual death metal sound, especially if you listen to the guitar leads, as some of them almost sounds like they have been taken from the 70's rock albums (sound wise). And if you add some punk primitiveness to it, then you won't be mistaken, really! Here's one thought though - I actually like "Hecatomb" production more, I find it as more aggressive and vicious.
The songs that complete "Epitome of Darkness" will catch your attention straight away! If not due to great riffs or the whole morbid and obscure feeling, then maybe due to some fine, catchy choruses when - I bet - you'll scream from your lungs all those lyrics like "Nosferatu, inside of you", "voices of the dead, chanting inside your head" or "eating from the coffin, eating from the grave" or whichever else, as basically each song has some old school hooks! They're going to catch your attention and stay in your head, possessing your mind until you get mad and start to dismember some corpses. I love the riffs and some songs are true fuckin masterpieces, in my opinion. "Hungry Are the Damned", "Premature Burial", "Voices of the Dead", "From Beyond the Grave" or "Eating From a Coffin" are possibly the best tracks on the album – notice though that I actually listed half of the whole tracklist, but that doesn't mean the other half is much worse, no! There's also such slab as Morbid cover ("Another Vision") and "Spawn of Pure Malevolence" from the first demo... Probably "Mutilated Remains" is the least interesting song on the album, but that's maybe because I like the version of it from "Draped in Cerecloth" demo more.
To resume then – here’s an album, which has great obscure, evil and dark feeling which is infectious. At some parts it's mercilessly fast and relentless, and sometimes it's slower, more mid paced, even with some melodic guitar leads... Those guys did compose some blasting songs and the vocals of Mary Goore are perfect, on the edge of black metal screams almost, but fitting the dirty style of Repugant just perfectly. I love it. I just have no idea why didn’t it get the proper recognition straight away on the day of its release and why did Repugnant have to split up? It’s just fuckin’ shame they didn’t go with the blast and didn’t do something more with it. The only positive aspect of it is that I can listen to the vinyl at any time… and if you didn’t get it at the time of its release, then you may easily buy the repress on the picture LP, although it hasn’t got the posters. Anyway, these zombies are fuckin’ cool.
Standout tracks: "Hungry Are the Damned", "Premature Burial", "Voices of the Dead", "From Beyond the Grave" or "Eating From a Coffin"
Final rate: 95 / 100