Reviewed: July 2019
Released: 2019, Century Media Records
“We’re not a Satanic band. Not in the normal way you’d define Satanism anyway. Like a devil with a tail, wings, and a giant fork. That’s not what I’m about. That’s not what we’re about. But I do see Lucifer as metaphor for freedom and justice. The lyrics (on Abominate) are how I see the world, the people in this world, and how they’re treated. The world isn’t a pleasant place.”
These are the words of Alex Friberg. Known to many as A. Impaler, the ferocious purveyor of low end for Swedish death metallers, Necrophobic, and currently moonlighting with heavy death “supergroup” Firespawn. He goes on to describe the band as having aspirations to marry the wanton savagery of death metal with the musicality of heavy metal.
“Heavy metal is more prevalent on Abominate than any previous album of ours. We’re trying to not be a typical death metal band. We’re challenging ourselves. That it happens to be death metal with a lot of heavy metal influences is really who we are as musicians and fans.”
Joining Friberg for the task of bringing this concept to life is a group of undeniably skilled musicians, each of whom has paid their dues in some of Sweden’s most formidable bands. Vocalist LG Petrov remains active in Entombed A.D. alongside Victor Brandt, who also features as guitarist on Abominate. Some will recognise Fredrik Folkare by his fretwork in the incredible, Unleashed, while drummer Matte Modin joins the party from Skineater and The Hidden.
With a CV as strong as the one we have above and the years of experience notched up between the assembled musicians, it will come as no surprise that in the album’s first moments Firespawn hit the ground running. They display the confidence of a band who have absolutely nothing to prove. Abominate is the sound of absolutely no fucks being given; just untamed aural brutality played with passion and skill.
There’s a temptation to end the review there. Indeed, Abominate has such an uncomplicated barbarity, it makes it a very easy album to enjoy, but a challenging one to articulate beyond how it stimulates a visceral appreciation for fierce riffs, whiplash drumming and laser sharp solos.
Petrov delivers a passionate performance. Full-throated and guttural, he matches the intensity of his bandmates in what could be a contender for a career highlight.
Across the album’s running time, song titles almost seem arbitrary as the fervent pace is maintained throughout. That is not to say those who dig deep won’t find some creative flourishes. The Gallows End features a miserable Gothic choir and some deft guitar work underneath the verses. Cold Void is a melancholy interlude that provides the album’s only respite from its relentless intensity and melodic aggression.
For its passionate delivery Abominate can’t be faulted. Those looking for variety and/or sprawling arrangements might do better to look elsewhere, but for the headbangers among us…
Turn this UP!