Nullo (The Pleasure Of Self-Mutilation)
posted on 10/2009 By:
I was introduced to Spanish death metal act Avulsed by former Metal Review writer Chris Sessions, in a forum discussion we had some years ago. I questioned whether an album with a title as absurd as Stabwound Orgasm could contain music that would appeal to a “serious death metal aficionado” (read: elitist prick) such as myself. Sessions replied, quite simply: “I like it.” Respecting Chris’s opinion as I did, that was all the endorsement that I needed to give the album a shot. Although the album cover gave every indication that Avulsed was going to be another mediocre gore band, and certainly there was much gurgling, gore-spattered death metal to be found within, Avulsed proved to have quite a keen sense of melody, that set them apart from their peers. It seemed that Sessions had not steered me wrong, as I found the album to be quite enjoyable.
At some point in the intervening years Avulsed fell off my radar. So, when the band’s latest album, Nullo (The Pleasure of Self Mutilation), popped up in our review queue, I took the opportunity to re-acquaint myself with their work. It seems little has changed in the Avulsed camp. Avulsed plays a fairly simple, traditional style of death metal; double bass, blast beats, tremolo picking, pinch harmonics, and all the other standard death metal elements are present. Early Cannibal Corpse would be an obvious reference point, particularly in the vocal department. Singer, Dave Rotten, uses an ultra deep guttural, Chris Barnes-like growl to spew out lyrics that, judging from the song titles ("Maggotfilled," "Breaking Hymens," "Fair Flesh Obsession"), I am probably glad I cannot understand. On the instrumental side, however, the band has a subtle European death metal influence. The songs tend to be a little rougher around the edges, with a little more emphasis on melody rather than on speed and rhythm.
Unfortunately, for Avulsed, there is a fine line between classic and dated, and on Nullo, Avulsed is sounding a little tired. While the band’s trademark melodies still crop up, they are not a strong enough presence to redeem death metal that is sounding decidedly run-of-the-mill. It is a struggle to come up with something noteworthy to expound upon. The album has its moments: “Foetal Consolation” has a catchy harmonized interlude, “Maggotfilled” features a riff with an interesting rhythmic hitch, and “Voracious Backpacker” features a memorable squealing harmonic riff, but these are all fleeting bits of music that catch the ear in passing. The songs as a whole fail to really capture one’s attention.
Nullo’s most memorable moments, sadly enough, come from the covers of Exodus’s “Piranha,” and Wasp’s “I Wanna Be Somebody” included at the end of the album, and they are memorable more for novelty’s sake, than for the quality of the arrangements. The "Piranha” cover succeeds largely because it is a great song and Avulsed does not mess with it too much. “I Wanna Be Somebody” does not fair as well, as the death vocals rob the track of some of the necessary dynamics.
Nullo is a serviceable death metal album; it sounds fine while it is playing, but it lacks that certain spark that will make me pull it off the shelf very often. To hear Avulsed in top form, I recommend checking out Stabwound Orgasm or Yearning for the Grotesque. Nullo, unfortunately, is a few corpses short of a massacre.
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