ABHORRENCE - Completely Vulgar (SVART Records - LP 2012)
Well, I won’t exaggerate if I say that this LP was one of the most anticipated recent releases for me. I didn’t really know if someone will ever think of putting all Abhorrence releases on the compilation album, but since all other Finnish and Swedish bands from the early 90’s have already released their compilations, then I guess it was only a matter of time, when Abhorrence will also be honoured with it. And it really is something that makes me happy, to have “Completely Vulgar” on vinyl and it didn’t even matter if I had to pay a bit extra to get this LP, I just had to have it in my collection. And the feeling, while listening to “Completely Vulgar” is exactly the same, when I listen to the compilation LPs from bands like Nirvana 2002, Interment, Centinex, Grave, Autopsy, Exmortis and so many more, which were unleashed recently. It is just a great joy and worship to those demo songs, which may often sound horribly rough, but which were founding this death metal style 20 years ago and which are nothing less, but a pure cults. And if I cannot have the original demo tapes, as they’re either impossible to find (especially if so many fakes are circulating around the E-bay) or way too expensive, then the best solve of this situation is to have it on vinyl. Not CD, but vinyl, as its clean, warm sound will give it the best justice to those recordings.
I often was saying, while reviewing such compilations, that the artwork and the whole layout are very important for me, when I’m dealing with such releases. There’s nothing worse than getting the boring and lazy, simple layout of the demo compilations, which don’t give you any extras, anything what would make the LP even more special and worthy. Xtreem Music’s release of Funebre’s demos is the worse example I can remember now, as they’ve released it in so uninspiring and boring way, without all that extra stuff, which could have been in the booklet. Fuck, I really hate “Cranial Torment” compilation for that; even if the music is just excellent. But then from the other hand labels like The Crypt and Necroharmonic were releasing amazing stuff. Compilations of such bands as Nirvana 2002, Epitaph, Centinex, Furbowl, Uncanny, Purtenance, plus CDs from Goreaphobia and Exmortis are just amazing pieces of wax and plastic, with so detailed booklets that it’s not just a joy of listening to the cult music, but also reading the story of the band, some old or new interviews, looking at the collection of archival photography. Yeah, when buying “Completely Vulgar” I hoped that this vinyl will also have the same kind of stuff… and I am not disappointed at all!
“Completely Vulgar” comes in two versions of the LP; mine is the black wax, in a killer gatefold cover which has very cool layout (looks like someone glued together an old cardboard box). Plus there’s a special 16 page booklet, which provides some horrid gore artwork, old photos, details on each recording from the compilation, lyrics plus very detailed liner notes from i.e. Jukka Kolehmainen (vocalist), Tomi Koivusaari (guitarist) and Juice Ahlroth (bassis) and all other original Abhorrence members. Isn’t that cool? There’s plenty to read, while you listen to the album, but it is just delightful to go back in time and read all those memories of the band members. Ah, there are also, if you haven’t got enough, scans of the old gigs posters, flyers, demo covers… Fuck, there’s everything!!! And this is exactly what I love about such compilations and this is exactly why they are so worthy to get, if only they’re done this way, not the Funebre way.
Finally, there’s also the music. I am not going to exaggerate if I say that Abhorrence is one of my favourite old death metal bands, one which maybe haven’t released much material, but which did some awesome music and inspired many other bands. I first got to know them in the early 90’s, but I got interested in the band mainly because I loved Amorphis’ “The Karelian Isthmus” and someone told me that this band used to be called Abhorrence – what isn’t really true, as Amorphis was formed when Abhorrence split up. Anyway, Tomi Koivusaari brought to Amorphis one of my favourite tracks of all time, “Vulgar Necrolatry”. And around 1994 I think, I got a Seraphic Decay compilation, which featured some of the greatest underground death metal bands – Goreaphobia, Disgrace, Acrostichon, Toxaemia and Abhorrence. And man, once I listened to Abhorrence – definitely the best band from the compilation - they quickly became one of my favourite bands. Obviously musically Abhorrence – just like Amorphis really – was taking a lot of influence from the Swedish scene, but maybe this is exactly the reason why I liked them so much, as I always preferred the Swedish sound over the Finnish one. Anyway, “Completely Vulgar” compiles all the recordings of Abhorrence plus has some extras, to satisfy our hunger for the pure, classic death metal sound.
In order, side A has the famous 7”EP material, side B has the cult “Vulgar Necrolatry” demo, side C is a live in Turku 1990 recording and finally side D features the rehearsal recording, which is known as “Macabre Masquarade” demo from 1990. Obviously sides A and B are the most amazing for me. The EP is just an awesome piece of death metal and the demo is not far behind, really! Those two recordings belong to my favourites ever and to listen to them is like the most thrilling experience. Imagine death metal, which from one hand has so much in common with the early Swedish demo bands like Nihilist, Dismember, Carnage, but also takes a lot of influence of gore / grind bands, including the horrid, maggot infected, decaying tunes from Carcass, Repulsion and Autopsy.… This is what Abhorrence was and “Vulgar Necrolatry” and “Abhorrence” are just killer, classic death metal releases, with such outstanding songs like “Pestilential Mists”, “Holy Laws of Pain”, “Vulgar Necrolatry” and “Devourer of Souls”. If you don’t know them, then you’ve got no idea and respect for the legendary scene.
The gig from Turku, from 1990, is something what has been probably added only to extend the time of the “Completely Vulgar”, as otherwise there would only be something like 25 minutes of music. But let’s be honest, the sound quality of this like recording is just very, very poor and if you don’t know the songs and the riffs, then they’ll be for you like badly recorded noise, nothing more. From the other hand such bootleg quality live recordings have their charm and sometimes, in few cases, I can listen to them, even if it’s not something what can really shred to pieces. This Turku recording is OK, in the slower parts you can easily hear what the riffs are plus the low, guttural vocal is also present… more problems start in faster, grinding parts, which are just damn messy and unreadable, but fuck that. I’d rather treat this bootleg live recording as a bonus, which do need really has to be listened to, unless you really want to. The rehearsal recording – which on the LP version has seven tracks – also have pretty poor audio quality, but it definitely is better than the Live in Turku and I must say that I really like it. “Macabre Masquerade” has all the best Abhorrence songs, plus some new ones like “The Macabre Masquerade” and “Adoration of Abscessed Cadavers”.
So, I do recommend you checking “Completely Vulgar”, it doesn’t matter if you an old fan of the band or someone new into this music – in both cases this release is a fundamental stuff to be in your collection. It’s still killer experience to listen to it, despite the 20 plus years, which have passed since Abhorrence existed and one can only think now how far would the band go, if they didn’t split up? Arrrrghhhhhh! Now I’m waiting for the vinyl version of the Gorement’s compilation album!
Final rate: 90/100