Thursday, 9 March 2017

Repulsion "Horrified" (1986)


Ive been meaning to get around to Michigan based Repulsion's debut and only record for the longest time. When researching Grindcore and Goregrind I often come across "Horrified", cited as a classic record in the genre's early days which despite being recorded in 86 wasn't actually released for another three years. Taking oneself back to that year, Metallica's Definitive "Master Of Puppets" had come out and the first few Death Metal tapes were circulating the states. Napalm Death has started to beef up their sound with blast beats during line up changes and the birth of a new sound was upon us. Although it wouldn't of assaulted ears for a few more years to come, Its quite possibly the "heaviest" record you could find of the time. That's why I had to check it out sooner or later.

Despite being an "old" record its abrasive demeanor took me a few listens to adjust. The hideously ear piercing ride cymbal making its mark on a loose and chaotic aesthetic where low, dingy guitars grind away at linear, one dimensional riffs with temperate grooves as the drums come crashing down around them with mosh steady beats. Vocalist Scott Carlson's screams are not much of a charm. Its a rougher, harsher form of Thrash Metal scream that has the fast and frantic delivery of Grindcore lyrics but yet to evolve into the deep growl so many other bands would take up. The base guitar most likely a mirror of the guitars but sounds somewhat non existent in a mix that constantly peaks the mid to mid-upper ranges.

In there moments, the blast beats crash in with full intensity, the ride cymbal smothering the tone, overloading the accompanying guitar riffs. The band have the measure to break it up with slower tempos, punk and thrash sections that turn the dial from eleven to ten. The riffs are simplistic, easy to follow and employ some techniques and styles that would become commonplace, the grinding of low strings and using snaky note progressions. On the lead guitar front Thrash like solos seem to crash into the mix at regular intervals with a fast and frenetic unleashing of notes that spiral around the listener before dropping out as quick as they came in.

At thirty minutes its a great length where a rather abrasive collection of short, frontal songs don't take themselves to seriously and outstay their welcome. Initially I was impressed by its age but dubious I would really enjoy this record given the length of stylistic evolution that laid in front of it. A few listens warmed me up to the sound but it was hard to make more than a retrospective impact. It was however worth my time, a coy enjoyment and an interesting piece of music poised slightly ahead of its time despite the delay in being released to the rest of the scene.

Rating: 5/10

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