Dawn Of Inhumanity
posted on 3/2010 By:
It sucks to peak early. Just ask Chris Reifert.
Very few are as steeped in death metal history as Reifert. This is the dude who played drums on Death’s Scream Bloody Gore, and who founded the nearly-as-seminal Autopsy; he was literally instrumental in the development and spread of death metal around the globe.
And then, after Autopsy’s 1995 demise, Reifert formed Abscess with fellow Autopsy vet Danny Corrales, and his luck ran out. Though the punk-death hybrid has maintained a pretty solid core fanbase through six releases and fifteen years, they never received anything close to the level of attention garnished on Reifert’s older efforts.
It’s possible that Abscess’s comparative obscurity is a function of the day and age. Reifert’s cavemanly take on death metal was starting to sound a little dated in the late 90s, and it hasn’t gotten any fresher (or any less rotten, as he’d probably have it) since. But in my admittedly incomplete experience, Abscess have simply never exhibited the hefty songwriting chops that made Reifert’s more notorious ventures so special.
Dawn of Humanity, however, may change that. Abscess’s seventh album is a marked improvement on just about everything else they’ve put out—meaner, wackier, catchier, and just all-around better.
This shift is remarkable in part because Abscess aren’t exactly reinventing themselves here. They still rely on fast (but blast-free), simple death metal tunes starring sloptastic guitars and a whole-band vocal attack. But in some ineffable, tough-to-pin-down way, typically Abscess-y cuts like “Goddess of Filth,” “What Have We Done To Ourselves,” and “Divine Architect” just hit harder and burrow deeper than their many predecessors.
An amped-up production and Reifert’s unhinged vocals, which are zanier and more abusive than they’ve been for years, definitely help. So does Coralles and fellow guitarist Clint Bower’s increasingly rock’n’roll sensibility, particularly in their frequent soloing. Abscess’s newfound willingness to occasionally branch out into vaguely experimental realms makes a difference too—“The Rotting Land” is basically a noise track featuring some guest hollering from the Darkthrone boys, while “Dead Haze” drifts through some almost-psychedelic clean guitar passages in between primal riff workouts.
But Abscess still aren’t exactly setting the death metal world ablaze with their distinctive take on the genre, and at fifty-plus minutes, Dawn of Humanity outstays its welcome by at least two of its five-minute cuts. Nonetheless, it seems that Autopsy’s recent reformation has stoked Reifert and Corrales’s creative fires, and those who have historically ridden the fence about Abscess might find that Dawn of Humanity pushes the band into the green.
Register to post comments.