Can Technical Death Metal put a smile on your face? It depends, as always. And that means in practice, only when Melodic Death Metal gets its juicy cut as well. Otherwise, this whole chebang risks becoming that runaway car crash of metal technocrats’ wet dreams. A ton of roborative sleep or wild somnanbulant gyrations in the bedroom. Turn on the mic.
The unholy year of the Lord 2022 has been a pretty proliferating affair in all matters tech. But this year’s also part and parcel of a tendency that bleeds over from previous years already. RMR fondly remembers the speedomaniacs from Archspire, and Carrion Vael here has got
some a lot of those particular goodies in their metallic DNA. But more importantly, Abhorrent Obsessions truly reminds me of the new quality direction the Swiss folks from Stortregn took some time ago, the impermanent buggers.
And here we got yet another tech death outfit thinking that moar is better. Because this feels like the aforementioned Stortregn, times two. Right from the starting shot, this record kinda feels like an obsessive metallic blitzkrieg for tech nerds on steroids. I guess, what saves its steely bacon is that Carrion Vael injects enough atmosphere and sturdy melodic shenanigans to make that whole thing palatable.
Yet interestingly, Abhorrent Obsessions doesn’t really shine the way it presents itself at first. Wings of Deliverance is an okay track only and that came as a surprise to us. But it is after all that run-of-the-mill sound that we grew accustomed to as of late. Burly riffs, wild solos, backed up by a selection of growl styles, one finely blackened rasp and the other deep down in Death Metal territory. Vocals that often come in staccato to make Dani Filth pale with envy. The track is as Extreme Metal as it comes. And yet, there’s nothing really to write to mama about anymore. It won’t frighten her after all those other letters about them mean buggers in the tech arena.
However, once The Devil in Me hits the turntable, things seriously improve. That’s one expertly chiseled track that gets the best out of that furious growling of theirs. All of that backed up with savage riffs, a terrific solo or two, and a reasonably melodic chorus that made us go back for seconds.1) So, second track, best track? Not so fast.
King of the Rhine follows straight in a similar vein. Yet, this one takes the metallic cake with a great balance on top of the ever-present fury. This song sounds like some baroque version of a future devilish impersonation of Anaal Nathrakh gone down Fleshgod Apocalypse road. A wild ride? Quite. And it does beat The Devil in Me by a few lengths.
Now, Abhorrent Obsessions also sports one of the best drum performances out there in 2022. This is way up there with the best and always in line with whatever crazy turn their tune takes. Also, you’ll suddenly find some clears injected into all that metallic and often lunatic craziness. Tithes of Forbearance contains one of those, for instance. And it makes for an eerie break in all that noisy buffoonery. Even if those clears somehow sit athwart the rest of the offering. Oh, and that very same track also injects an astonishing slight prog flavor that suddenly emerges out of nowhere.
There truly is not all that much to criticize on that obsessive piece. If anything, it might be that slight attack of sensory overload after a while. It makes the mind wander to other shiny things. In other words, a few ideas less stuffed into that hodgepodge of extremist metallics might have worked wonderfully for the overall quality. Because, at times, there seems to be a certain lack of direction in all this. Just sayin’.
Ultimately though, Carrion Vael sent us a record that easily stands with the wildest and best technocrats out there. Abhorrent Obsessions is harsh yet melodic, epic yet full of atmosphere, reasonably bombastic, and right in the vein of the modern Technical Death Metal albums that we enjoyed lately. A technically outstanding version of the same that always suspiciously seems high on something. But what can you do when Jack Daniels recorded everything, right? And we always thought that Cult of Lilith was out of control.
There you go.
|1.||It became the go-to track to convince the mean masses of the delights of heavy music. Did we succeed? Not quite. -Ed.|