Battlescarred EP

Battlescarred is an apt title on a couple of levels for Abominant, Kentucky’s Death Metal mainstays, an act with no less than eight full-length albums under its collective bullet belt. Sticking to their bullshit-free USDM approach no matter the trend or the financial risk, Abominant wear those USDM scars proudly, while their brand of scalding death has always brought with it images/lyrics depicting the horrors of war in a manner about as selective in choosing targets as a carpet bombing run. Abominant always delivers solid, consistently strong USDM, as further demonstrated by the Battlescarred EP, which consists of two originals and a couple of super cool covers.

Though some have for whatever reason have refused to give Abominant credit for output that may not be inventive (and is that really so damn important in DM?), but is well written and unequivocally murderous, the rest of us have welcomed with open arms the unrelenting assaults of albums like Warblast and Where Demons Dwell (the last two releases on Deathgasm Records). The Abominant sound does in fact bring with it a recognizable identity, often defined by a white-hot guitar tone and riffing style (seriously, you can actually “hear” the hotness); a blast-beaten (though not one-dimensionally so) drumming style that is terrifyingly calamitous without being sloppy; and a vocal approach from Mike Barnes that is rooted in a demonic growl, yet moves into a ghastly BM screech as necessary. All of those elements are present on the new songs, “Pile of Flesh” and the title track, both of which are pretty much dyed-in-the-wool Abominant (USDM with blackened shades), albeit more similar to the sound of Where Demons Dwell than the more traditionally (and somewhat Floridian) Warblast. Timmie Ball busts out some harshly melodic (it’s not an oxymoron) riffs and stout solos too.

The 17-minute EP then moves into the realm of the cover song for which these kinds of EPs are best suited. Pestilence’s “Out of the Body” is a good choice since the original is death metal to be sure, yet not Abominant’s style of death metal, which is why it works. But far more surprising and just plain fun is a cover of Black Sabbath’s “The Mob Rules” from 1981’s Dio-led Mob Rules (I still own the original vinyl pressing, suckers!) on which the band pretty much sticks to the original song format, although Barnes does put his own stamp on the vocal patterns without veering off course. The song intro is different too, retaining only a bit of the original bubbling-cauldron effects and a “Death to all who oppose us!” sample. And with a riff like that one how can any metal band possibly go wrong covering “The Mob Rules.” I take that back .Quite a few would have butchered it. Fortunately, Abominant did not.

That’s the size of it; no “about” about it. If you are an Abominant fan, then Battlescarred is a mandatory purchase. If you are a fan of death metal (the U.S. variety in particular) that is not familiar with the group’s body of work, then it is high time you took the Abominant plunge. Picking up a copy of Battlescarred from the band wouldn’t be a bad way to begin.



[Visit the band's website]
Written by Scott Alisoglu
July 9th, 2012


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