Album: Abhorrence – EP
If I had a penny for every time someone said they were “disgusted by society,” I would be rich. More and more people seem to be completely loathing of their surroundings—but why? What makes society so sinister and filthy that countless men and women feel compelled to speak out against it? The answer is simple: Repulser. These Californian Bay Area Brutalizers are simply filthy, drenched in disgust in the most seductive way—if you’re a fan of heavy music, that is. With their aptly named debut EP, Abhorrence, Repulser rid themselves of propriety and peace, immersing the listener in stride, violence, hatred and misanthropy so pure it could turn mother Theresa into a murdering psychopath. Repulser are a gritty old-school Deathcore act turned downtempo that are not for the faint of heart; for if the blast beats and bone-snapping slams don’t kill you, the crowd kill-inducing breakdowns will.
Repulser are a tedious balance of trendy, trainwreck-heavy downtempo and old school Deathcore one might expect to hear on Mediaskare’s 2008 lineup. At times, percussionist Jacob Perez is the king of meaty, murderous percussion with a kick drum that sounds like someone beating a dead cow with a sledgehammer, and a snare that cracks like a 9 millimeter handgun. “Unexist” reaches a glorious, grotesque climax that is a picture perfect example of this. However, other times, Perez punishes the listener with choppy blast beats and quick, dazzling fills that feel almost like a throwback to Salt the Wound’s early days. Here, “Violence (Is the Answer)” reigns king, as an aptly named example of technically savvy, skin-tearing percussion. However, Abhorrence’s dynamic amalgam of metallic styles doesn’t end with Perez’s percussion. Guitarist Jamal Tehrani tears new holes in the listener’s head for them to hear out of with his relentless attack. Fluent in riffy, skin-peeling segments of shred and demoralizing hyper dissonant chugs both, Tehrani takes Perez’s dazzling, energetic drumming and gives it teeth to sink into the listener’s neck, draining them of their life force. “Flesh Machine” is an incredible example, opening up the album with a full spectrum of the instrumental variety Repulser have to offer—even as it stays limited to bold, brash breakdowns and skin-shredding technicality.
When it comes to evil, Repulser’s musicians are competent at crafting a murky, sinister atmosphere—but the band’s frontman, Donovan Daly, is a master at it. Every syllable Daly shrieks is pure murder; and ranging from social disgust to a refusal of all things religious, the lyrics he writes are not far behind. Daly is a preacher of putridity and pestilence, belittling the listener with brazen, bone-snapping high screams on “Preaching” and burying them alive with muddy, murky bellows on “Birth of Disdain.” As such, his lyrical topics differ in scope—all with the common ground of being wholly aggressive and angry. “Preaching” is—you guessed it—an intensely anti-religious anthem, while “Violence (Is the Answer)” is a catchy track calling for intense aggression towards all mankind. Where Abhorrence features two distinct musical styles that toggle back-and-forth, Daly’s visceral, gritty vocals range fluidly across the entirety of his impressive range throughout the album, giving the listener unpredictability and horror where they might otherwise find monotony and melancholy.
Abhorrence is home an awesomely effective dynamic that uses consistently intense vocals to keep the listener engaged between transitions of metallic shred and dissonant downtempo deathcore. However, just because Repulser’s dynamic is effective doesn’t mean t isn’t predictable at times. Tracks like “Birth of Disdain” seem to tactlessly waddle back and forth between chug-heavy brutality and hollow, copy-pasted riffs, relying on Daly’s immense vocal presence to keep the listener hooked. However, “Birth of Disdain” is outweighed by the incredible catchiness of “Violence (Is the Answer)” and the world-ending heaviness of “Unexist,” showing that when Repulser work cohesively as a unit, few things can mar their ascension to deathcore stardom.
Disgust. Filth. Loathing. Repulsion. Abhorrence is all of the above, a manifesto of misanthropic tendencies and calls for worldwide genocide. At the end of the day, if there were a culling of nameless, faceless deathcore bands, Repulser would make the cut and survive—even if only by a thread.
For Fans Of: Salt the Wound, Whitechapel, As Blood Runs Black, Float Face Down
By: Connor Welsh