Abscess — Tormented (2000)

19.09.2001  :: АрхивАрхив рецензий Автор: Andrey Kugaevskiy

As a rule, Irond doesn’t pay a lot of attention to death metal, thus every album of this style issued by them quickly becomes a subject of utmost interest for all death metal fans. That’s why I was somewhat surprised when I saw Abscess’ «Tormented» in the Irond’s albums release plan. The thing is that if you’ve ever heard any band with Chris Reifert, you’ve heard them all. While The Ravenous differs a bit from Autopsy by having a lot of «filler» (cuts from movies), Abscess can be considered the direct heir of Autopsy — it’s almost impossible to find any significant differences between «Shitfun» and «Tormented». So now you see the reason for my confusion — the vinyl version of «Mental Funeral» was issued in Russia in the early 90’s, and everyone who wanted to acquaint himself/herself with the music of comrade Reifert has already done so. Anyway, I’d better not direct such complaints to the label — I would do better to say «thanks for providing the possibility of getting legally pressed CDs for a reasonable price».

Finally, it’s in my hands. Decent cover (at least I wasn’t inspired enough to make fun of it as I usually do, which saved you from reading another endless paragraph full of my silly jokes), but the inlay (with spans 8 pages, as it is — or should I say «was» — usual in Irond’s case) has lyrics to all the songs (including the mistypes). To tell you the truth, I don’t quite understand why (if the statement on Irond’s site is to be believed) Reifert said we’ll all shit our pants upon hearing this CD. I think he should’ve said «seeing», not «hearing». Cherishing the hope that Reifert has matured lyrically (at least a little bit) over all the years he has spent playing music, I started reading the lyrics… only to stop shortly after.

Abscess lyrics look like the revelations of a pimpled juvenile idiot who watched too many third-rate horror movies (and took them too seriously). Judge for yourselves — who else could’ve written the following: «I’m pissing napalm all over you / My head in flames», or this one:»Nobody wants to know me / They all think I’m crazy» (sure, who else?). Well Chris, one thing I know for sure is exactly *what* you were smoking when you wrote these lyrics (I’m speaking about these lines: «Punishment for birth / Smoking dust of doom»). All in all, the inlay could be examined mostly for laughter, so let us move to the music.

Abscess’ music is nothing special — technically raw, mid-paced classic death metal in the vein of Autopsy with a harsh semi-scream/semi-growl, complete with doomy riffs and simple song structures. The sound is quite dense, but it’s not massive; rather, it’s «pressed down». The mix is clear, in that all instruments can be easily heard without any problems. The bassist plays with his fingers, reminding me good old «Severed Survival» with the difference being that bass parts on «Tormented» are played with more clarity and proficiency, without the specific «farts». The guitar sound is somewhat weak, but on the other hand, they are quite clean, allowing you to easily decipher every stunt performed by the guitarists. But the problem is this: they aren’t actually performing any stunts.

Everything is characteristic, if not inanely typical. The riffs haven’t changed since… well, I’d have to go back to the late 80’s. Those who have heard will understand perfectly. As for those who haven’t… well, allow me to clarify:

The main pecularity of these riffs is their… erm… «tuneful tunelessness». Don’t worry about my mental stability — these riffs undoubtedly carry some tunes and harmonies, but the thing is that most of these tunes and harmonies are… oh, how do I say this? How about «hard to retain in your mind»? After you hear them, you’ll undoubtedly understand what a «typical Autopsy riff» sounds like. But it’s really hard to catch the essence of this «typicalness», so I’d better stick to the Autopsy reference and stop trying to to come off like a PhD in music theory.

As for the vocals, they also resemble Autopsy, but with evidence of minor evolution. Besides the growling parts, the vocals also impart some retching overtones, as if the vocalists despise the lyrics too. As a rule, trivial drum parts don’t catch one’s attention; their simplicity is trenching upon primitiveness. Actually, Reifert always was a mediocre drummer, but this fact has an explanation — it’s hard to play something technical on drums and growl simultaneously (even if it’s not really a growl sometimes, more like senile groans).The general tempo ranges from slow to mid-pace, with no «supersonic blastbeat-with-wild-tremolo» parts, of course. Song structures are usually in the verse-chorus area, but get a bit more complicated (theme-wise) on the longer songs.

Thirteen tracks, thirty three minutes — and now it’s time to sum it up. Despite the certain lack of originality, Abscess will be a good buy for any classic death metal freak. Autopsy fans will be simply squealing in exaltation. To all the others, I’d recommend that you listen to «Tormented» in the store, and only then should you decide if it’s your thing.

And one more thing… if you like to read inlays of CDs searching for interesting thoughts, or if a band’s lyrics mean a lot to you, you’d better think twice before buying this disk. And if you don’t give a shit about what is growled/screamed/retched in the music that you listen to, why are you still reading? :)

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