Svart Records Double-Review: Abhorrence & Teksti-TV 666
Svart Records back at it again. Two records, one great and one less-so. One old school death metal comeback and one krautpunk-meets-psychedelic-shoegaze debutante. Can you guess which is which?
ABHORRENCE – MEGALOHYDROTHALASSOPHOBIC
To just about everyone Abhorrence is the band where Tomi Koivusaari played before Amorphis. Over the years they became a (very) small cult name, and on the age of nostalgia raze, Svart Records decided to release Completely Vulgar in honor of the band’s reactivation in 2012. The compilation of self-titled EP, Vulgar Necrolatry demo, a bootleg and a rehearsal tape did well to defend it’s existence though, among masses of band’s reforming and re-releasing only because they had released one demo in the nineties, or had one of it’s members become better known later on – Abhorrence had potency far beyond these reaches. The second wave of their new coming was heralded by a live album last year, recorded in 2013. Now, having secured drummer extraordinaire, Waltteri Väyrynen, Abhorrence has finally let their comeback come to fruition with Megalohydrothalassophobic Ep.
“Anthem For The Anthropocene”, the first single, couldn’t have been a worse start, with three major issues. Firstly, being the first new song of a Finnish death metal band that used to sound like Finndeath, one would have hoped that it would have carried at least a bit of Finnish flavour. This was not the case. Secondly, it did not sound like Abhorrence. Although it needs to be said that with so little recorded material to their name that it makes little sense to talk of their own, distinctive style – it bore no resemblance to their past material. And thirdly, this being the most major issue, the root of all other issues. It sucked. Bland, boring and hookless, with riffs so forgettable it feels completely riffless. Okay, I lied about the hookless-part, it’s chorus – a flaccid repetition of “Ia! Ia!”, is so tired it only serves to underline the tepid nature of the song.
Armed with an ambient intro, Megalohydrothalassophobic is best enjoyed skipping to “The Four Billion Year Dream”. A build-up following a doomy intro leads into a frenzied verse and halfway through breaks into a series of wonky, slightly psyched-out guitar leads that sound like early Amorphis on played through a hazy filter. It takes a few spins to appreciate how deceptively the leads let a rocking rhythm settle into the background with breaking death ‘n roll -ground. “Hyperobject Beneath The Waves” continues in a similar manner, the mid-tempo verses sound like the leads from the previous song was made into a riff. “The End Has Already Happened” closes the ep with a seven-minute lesson in excess through simplicity. A minute’s worth of FX and bass is followed by another completed with a chugging guitar before settling into yet another “oddly rocking” rhythm that it rides out for most of it’s remaining duration, briefly either speeding or bringing back the intro, it fails to satisfy quite as much as it’s preceding tracks.
The real problem with Megalohydrothalassophobic is that even at it’s best it never sounds like Abhorrence, or rather like Abhorrence is a real band. Over the years Amorphis’ membership has been involved in numerous other projects – whether the radio rock of Verenpisara, deathprog of Barren Earth, throwaway boogie-rocking with Andy McCoy on Grease Helmet or Kiljuvelka-70′s hardcore – each of these has seems to at least partially exist so that Amorphis wouldn’t have to change their current formula, while allowing everyone to try something different as well – which isn’t to say any of those bands wouldn’t be excellent in their own right, several are – but with Megalohydrothalassophobic, Abhorrence sounds more like their shadow. Amorphis trying to reconnect with their roots, but having run out of songs to re-record. Which is astonishing, considering only Koivusaari went on to Amorphis, and Abhorrence never really did sound alike.
2.5/5 FLAMING TOILETS OV HELL
TEKSTI-TV 666 – AIDATTU TULEVAISUUS
Tektsi-TV 666 has made hell of a buzz since their debut ep in 2014. Owing in part to the fact that they employ up to five guitarists, but not without musical merit to back the hype up. At their best a fierce live act that can barely fit to the stage, simultaneously delivering cacophony and harmony as none of their axemen seek to replicate each other’s playing. Yet the clatter and jangle of their psychedelic finnrock, punk and shoegaze has proven difficult to translate into recorded form. For a band with so many guitarists, the production on their EP trilogy sounded unbelievably thin, and the band’s energy seems to have translated to a more dreamlike hypnosis.
Though not an entirely different band, the contrast has been great, yet Teksti-TV 666 has made both sounds work with to-be-classics (if there’s any justice left on this barren earth) like “Piritorilta Taivaaseen” “Sä Et Tuu Enää Koskaan takaisin” and “Neljä Seinää Ja Puolikas Sielu”. Aidattu Tulevaisuus brings no change to their sound, but takes a few steps forwards in terms of consistency. The guitars still hum and buzz so soft much of the possible nuance feels lost in the haze. But now some of the most repetitive moments have been waylaid to make room for catchier songwriting – the change doesn’t feel great but makes for remarkable results, even though Aidattu Tulevaisuus features no new classics, it’s by far the band’s easiest record to listen, and the opening pair – “Turbo-Mondeo” and especially the title track, first ever under four minuter, feature their most memorable, biggest hooks yet. While “Rauhankone” moves between droning rock and heavier, industrial-like moments that could have been from a never released Godflesh record, if Broadrick had not halted the project’s development. Tying the two distinct styles together surprisingly well with shoegazing all over and some subtle vocal harmonies that the band could stand to bank on further.
While the ten-minute closing instrumental “Katko” reaches for the phantasmal delivery of the Eps but lacks the vortical traction of it’s predecessors. It’s noteworthy that for a full-length debut, Aidattu Tulevaisuus is short – only 2 minutes longer than 3. This seems to be it’s grand problem, Aidattu Tulevaisuus doesn’t seem to have much room to develop, it only manages to introduce it’s core ideas – and disappears right after, without honing them or defining a particular direction. Although it’s disheartening that Teksti-TV 666 would seek to become a more regular rock band on this release, since their strength previously has lain elsewhere – in producing and maintaining a huge sound, and creating large musical arcs while minimizing structural change – and succeeding so poorly on what they used to thrive on. A wonderful timbre alone doesn’t rescue lackluster songs.
On the other hand, I’d be willing to stick quite a bit of that to the lack of length. Aidattu Tulevaisuus has a grander variety of distinct ideas packaged into a less colourful box. It’s fun, mostly memorable and will not outright disappoint any fan of the Eps. The band still has quite the way to go if they wish to earn their hype, but it’s making progress. Aidattu Tulevaisuus appears more as another Ep than a full-length debut with fleshed-out ideas. Hopefully in the future, the dreamy and catchy sides of Teksti-TV 666 will shake hands with beef and combine into a modern masterpiece. For now, we must take care of our garden.
3.5/5 FLAMING TOILETS OV HELL
Both albums are now available for all your shopping needs on Svart Records