Friday, November 12, 2010

Absu - "The Temples Of Offal" 7 inch (1992) - record review

I've never really like when people lump Absu in to the black metal genre. I have several reasons I could get into for that but I think the main one is because of the way I first heard the band - and that was in a fairly random trade back in the early 90s in which I received their first
7 inch, 1992's supremely evil platter of wax, entitled "The Temples Of Offal".

About as far from the modern day definition of "black metal" as you can get sound wise, this record has something that most of the thin, lightly strummed, poorly played crap that passes off for that genre now days totally lacks... evil! This record fucking drips it. From the bizarrely genius record title, to the grotesque cover art that looks like it could be an illustration right out of Ludwig Prin's De Vermis Mysteriis (why do I get the feeling that that evil church rising from the slime smells like Waterfront Park on a 90 degree summer day?) to the solid black, print free record stamp, to the malevolent and cryptic sounding song titles ("Immortal Sorcery", "Sumerian Sands (The Silence)" and "Disembodied"), and of course, the brilliantly evil songs themselves, this 7 incher is just 100% pure, scary, wicked, heavy metal evil.

When you throw this bad boy on (as I have over and over since first getting my copy many years ago), you immediately get smashed right in your face with the pure power of this thing - this is the record that church groups always suspected existed somewhere when they were burning up piles of W.A.S.P. and Twisted Sister LPs back in the 80s. Long before Absu started experimenting with strange, traditional folk instruments and bagpipes, before the heavy metal and thrash elements, before the high pitched King Diamond wails were added as exclamation points to their expertly put together genre hopping metal songs they make today, these guys blasted out some down tuned, 100% pure fucking heavy as hell, evil as all get out death metal, just the way I like it.

You know that style that the kids are all worked up about right now? Yeah, whatever the new band is this month with the red logo and the white art on the black background that those internet metal experts (19 year old, self proclaimed metal scholar schmoes who just got into non-radio music 2 years ago) are arguing about on some dumb message board? This makes whatever that is this week look like a flat out fucking joke. You want 'yer old tyme "bestial, traditional death metal"? This is the real thing freshcut, so listen up!

As there is no insert (maybe some people got one, I don't know, but my copy has no info at all other than the titles and the name of the label, which made it all the more mysterious and evil back when I first played it), I can't tell you who was doing vocal duties in the band at this time, but the second the blast beat starts and the "demon in the wind" low vocals kick in on side one's "Immortal Sorcery", with it's huge, warm old school analog metal sound, you know you're in for it. The riffs are like bulldozers, plowing through the songs with relentless strength, with that great, catchy heaviness that only old school death metal can give you, blasting through the tunes just to the perfect point, stopping exactly at the spot where the speed would turn to monotony (something a lot of bands just do not understand) before going into the slow, heavy, evil death/doom riffs that those kind of blast riffs just beg to be smacked up against.

Seriously, when the tunes on this record get to those avalanche slow riffs, it's like the listener has been smacked up against a wall. They just down shift like an 18 wheeler bearing down on a Hyundai, and steamroll you into the ground. How these slow crawl riffs mix with the relentless, almost mechanical drums just flattens me every time. That, combined with the vocals, which are some of the best "the mutant bear from Prophecy growling in it's cave" low dm bellows ever put on wax, those moments will destroy you, no ifs/ands/buts about it.

That's not all you get though. There's some great mid paced, double bass death metal riffing going on here too, particularly in the part before the solo on "Sumerian Sands", that are mosh riffs for the pits of hell. The opening part before the blast in "Disembodied" is the same way, the hook the drums and the guitars hit just locks in and smacks you around, pretty much forcing you to bang your head like an idiot (even if you're playing it on your computer speakers, 'ya goof). Oh yeah, did I mention there's a couple of great, spazztic, whirlwind old Slayer/Deicide sounding leads going on at a few points here too? Yup, don't worry, you get those as well. In fact, pretty much ALL the parts you want in a great death metal song are on here, perfectly and tastefully executed. Every time they break, the next section of the song is EXACTLY what you want to hear, pushing the heavy factor farther and farther into the red, as the riffs pile on top of each others momentum until you have a huge, teetering, festering... well, Temple Of Offal I guess...

Anyways, Absu is one of those bands who've tried a lot of different things over the years, and somehow, no matter what musical experiments they try, they still retain their band's sound and vibe and are able to keep that "Absu" feel, something most metal bands have a really hard time doing. Either repeating yourself over and over, or changing so much that what people liked about the band to begin with is lost is the downfall of many a band, but throughout their releases Absu has deftly avoided either of those traps. From 1997's uber-classic "3rd Storm Of Cytheral" to their magnum opus 2001's amazing masterpiece "Tara" to all points since, before and in between, in my book Absu has done no wrong. For me though, my worship of this amazing band all started here, with this super classic, evil as fuck slab of metal "The Temples Of Offal", one of my favorite 7 inches of all time. Grab a copy today and throw it on your turntable, crank the volume and get ready for straight up death metal hell!

(don't believe me? Check the comments section, download and hear "Sumerian Sands (The Silence)" for yourself. Just don't say I didn't warn ya')

10 out of 10 fucking Oscars

Oh side note, I was lucky enough to get to go watch Portland death metal band Weregoat rehearse their upcoming LP at their space last night, and if you do like old style death and black metal (think Repulsion, early Carcass, Tumult, Blasphemy, Bestial Warlust kind of vibe, right up my alley) do yourself a favor and pick up their LP when it comes out on Parasitic Records, and check them out for sure, it's fucking great stuff. Really stoked on their tunes, thanks for letting me watch fellas!)

now playing -
Avenger - "Minister Of Madness" LP
Goblin - "The Heroin Busters" soundtrack
Rigor Mortis - "Rigor Mortis" LP
Denounecment Pyre - "World Cremation" LP


Blogger Ryan S. said...

download a track from Absu - "The Temples Of Offal" at this url -

11:52 AM  

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