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Abhorrence Returns to Record After 27 Years With “Megalohydrothalassophobic”


Abhorrence returns after a 27-year recording hiatus with the EP Megalohydrothalassophobic. The tenor of these tracks picks up where they left off on their sole studio release, 1991’s self-titled Abhorrence 7”. Whereas the first side of that release saw them follow up their demo’s standard death metal fare with songs about the bubonic plague and physical pain, the second half saw the duo of tracks “Caught in a Vortex” and “Disintegration of Flesh” pursue more heady themes.

The former was a cosmic horror/fantasy tale of a being’s entombment in a macrocosmic hell, while the latter is a meditation on the vastness of time both before and after life and our existential doom to disillusion in those tides. It is from that space that themes of Megalohydrothalassophobic’s pummeling, grinding death metal is drawn. Listen to an exclusive stream of the new EP below.

The new material takes an ecological turn, citing in both the intro track and the first proper track the notion of the anthropocene, or the era of geological and ecological history where humanity, the anthropos, has primary effect on the course things. The following tracks explicate on this thought in an expected doomy manner, using death metal to paint terrifying tales of the size of time and an ecological death that now seems fated by our hands.

The music on the release buffets these themes with a fairly traditional approach to Finnish death metal, taking the straight-ahead abrasive no-frills style of early Swedish death metal and appending a slightly more cinematic approach to lead guitar work and tempo variation. Abhorrence are most comfortable at a moody and brutish mid-tempo, letting the weight of their guitar tone carry the heaviness and bedraggled ambiance where others might rely on speed. They’re also comfortable letting their guitars give just a bit of that Sabbathian swing, letting notes bend and slur and groove rather than merely pumping them out with metronomic precision.

It can be seen the band has been playing live together for years prior to recording this follow up; their interplay feels natural and human rather than something forced or mapped out in a computer rather than in person. Likewise, despite only having a 30-year old demo and a nearly as old 7” to their name, these songs feel like they are crafted by decades of songwriting practice. And that’s because, well, they are; guitarist and primary songwriter Tomi Koivusaari has played in Amorphis since 1990, with these songs being assembled as a more direct death metal outlet since that band has moved further into melodic and folk metal directions over the years.

Still, it is a credit not just to Koivusaari but to all of the other performers that the material comes together so naturally. These are the same players, save for the drummer, that Abhorrence has had since the beginning, and none of the other players have pursued careers in extreme metal. To see them follow up their now roughly five-year reunion run of concerts, themselves impeccably performed, with such a compelling release, one that affirms the simple power of straight-ahead death metal in a world where death metal does a little bit of everything (and does it well), is a terribly exciting thing. One hopes that Abhorrence blossoms once more into a viable long-term outfit. Megalohydrothalassophobic certainly proves that this lineup has legs still, and compelling death metal yet to unleash.

— Langdon Hickman

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