REVIEW: Abhorrence – (Ail)ments [EP/2016]


Artist: Abhorrence 

Album: (Ail)ments – EP


A disgust so pure it’s practically tangible worms it’s way in through your ears and invades your veins. It slowly eats at your tissues, running rampant through your body—completely unchecked by your failing immune system. Before long it’s permeates the membranes of the meninges of your spine—diffusing into your spinal column and working its way up.

Once it gets into your brain, it’s all over. Game. Set. Match. 

The it in question is the latest EP by Pennsylvanian poison, Abhorrence—aptly titled (Ail)ments. Comprised of crushing heaviness and catchy, bouncy grooves, (Ail)ments is intense and infectious, pummeling the listener with nearly twenty minutes of pure punishment, leaving them on death’s doorstep by the time Abhorrence is done.

You can find Abhorrence somewhere at the crossroads of devastating downtempo deathcore and eviscerating, energetic metalcore a la Pennsylvanian brethren Varials. Equal parts bouncy and brutalizing, Abhorrence’s latest EP sees them capturing the raw aggression of their debut release while keeping their momentum rolling from the faster-paced and catchier full-length record. At the heart of the ensemble is drummer Nick Buonamici—dominating the mix with a beefy kick drum and sharp, explosive snare. “Beggar” is an excellent example of Buonamici’s bold percussion—and how crucial it is to the dynamic that makes (Ail)ments such a strong release. With bright, splashy cymbals that give way to his flashy fills and thick kick drum, Buonamici directs Abhorrence as they transition from riff-driven segments into ruthless breakdowns and crowd-killing, beatdown-tinted anthems; however, he is not alone. Buonamici’s flavorful bass drum and fleet footwork is accompanied by bassist Keen Tran, who is remarkably audible during the entirety of the EP. “Mild Mannered” sees his slinking, snappy tone working side-by-side with guitarist Jeremy Jones, and together, the two let loose with a lurid, lethal amount of groovy, gruesome aggression that confidently strides the tightrope joining riffymetalcore and rampaging deathcore. Jones’ jarring guitar seems as if it a never-ending fountain of furiously fretted insanity; take “Culture Shocked” for example. Even “Triggered” is more than the average opener, as Tran’s bass is a stellar scaffold for Jones to jam hyperdissonant fretwork down the listener’s throat.

Where Abhorrence’s instrumentation is intimidating in and of itself, the band’s vocal element is bitter, abrasive and raw. FrontmanTrevor Gilbride isn’t so much a vocal powerhouse when it comes to range, but what he lacks in diverse delivery he more than makes up for with unhinged, unstoppable and unfathomably bitter delivery. From “Triggered” all the way through “Beggar,” Gilbride doesn’t let up, throwing personal and powerful lyrics at the listener with 100 miles per hour of hatred and heat behind every syllable. Those who need convincing—and aren’t convinced by “Triggered”—need look no further than the acapella portion of “Youngbloods pt. 2.” Here, Gilbride’s voice is all there is, attacking the listener with unbridled fury, and even without a ten-ton breakdown behind him, the listener’s spine still shrinks. Gilbride’s brilliant vocal delivery makes the subtle moments of (Ail)ments spine-smashing—and the already heavy moments just that much heavier. 

(Ail)ments is equal parts catchy and crushing—with portions that will worm their way into the listener’s head and never worm their way out and portions that will send cracks across the listener’s skull like a rock splitting thin ice. Truthfully, the only thing Abhorrence could have done to further (Ail)mentsas a whole would be to add more material—as four songs and an introduction isn’t quite enough for the listener to get their fix. More tracks would likely have allowed Abhorrence to explore their new dynamic even more—as their newfound ability to balance brutality and catchiness is second to none, to a point where even these five songs overshadow the rest of their already-impressive discography. (Ail)ments sees Abhorrence taking their unique sound and stepping it up—making it as good as it is unique, infecting the listener’s head with a sickness they would be glad to bear.



For Fans Of: Bodysnatcher, Varials, Rex, Genocide District

By: Connor Welsh