Released: 2007, Tyrant Syndicate/Peaceville Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Spawned from such death metal luminaries as Autopsy and Death, Oakland’s Abscess has puked up its latest slab of wretched tunes entitled HORRORHAMMER. As a fan of the aforementioned bands, Darkthrone’s Fenriz picked up HORRORHAMMER for release on his Peaceville imprint, Tyrant Syndicate, and along with Aura Noir and Old, Abscess will fit into the family quite nicely. Mixing equal parts punk-influenced speed metal and gross-out death, the band’s influences run the gamut from Venom to Possessed to Napalm Death. The lo-fi production job and abundance of guitar solos will please the old-schoolers and with twelve tracks blazing by in a mere 34 minutes, the ADD crowd will be thrilled, as well.
Chris Reifert (drums on Death’s SCREAM BLOODY GORE; founding member of Autopsy) lets it all hang out on the vicious opening track, “Drink The Filth.” From the harshness to the vocals right down to the razor-wire riffs, the glorious Possessed influence is immediate here as well as on “Exterminate.” “Another Private Hell” is a short burst of crusty, mosh-pit aggression that echoes classic Napalm Death while the throaty, mid-paced groove and swirling guitar solo found on “Poison Messiah” could be taken from Slayer’s early catalogue. “When Witches Burn” is a groove-laden dance of death with an epic, doom feel to it. The combination of vocal style and runaway train guitar solo that resides halfway through are ominously sinister. Abscess wears their Venom influence on their sleeve for “Four Grey Walls” and “The Eternal Pyre” as the filthy, three-chord punk-thrash steamrolls ahead with menacing guitar tones and bellowed vocals.
Like Autopsy, Abscess’ music is simple, raw and ugly and will have a limited audience. Thankfully, the over-the-top gross-out elements have been toned down (the cover art of their 1995 debut, URINE JUNKIES, shows a syringe getting rigged up at a piss-filled urinal) but there is still a sense of unease that comes from sitting through an Abscess album. At least one doesn’t feel like disinfecting the CD player after a spin like on Autopsy’s SHIT FUN but this is still some nasty stuff. HORRORHAMMER will never win any technical awards but for gutter-fuelled, old school, punk-y speed metal, this album will give any fan his fix.
KILLER KUTS: “Drink The Filth,” “Another Private Hell,” “Exterminate,” “When Witches Burn,” “The Eternal Pyre”