Monday, February 4, 2013

Absu - The Temples of Offal (1992)

This is some pretty fucking brutal shit right here. You can forget about all the blackened/thrash that Absu is primarily known for. In fact, this was released before Proscriptor was a gleam in Russley Given's eye.

I may never fully comprehend why Absu decided to abandon this style in favor of the black metal trend that was gaining considerable momentum in those early years, but I do know that The Temples of Offal is one of those creative gems that for some reason or another was decidedly cast away and banished to relative obscurity. Tsk, tsk. Had Absu remained on this particular path, they could've rivaled even the great Suffocation as the most accurate comparison I could think of would be that band's 1991 'ep', 'Human Waste'. Of course Absu walked a darker path both lyrically and thematically, though music-wise their intentions were no less barbaric than their Long Island counterparts. The main difference here would be that Absu's preferred method of attack was a bit more straightforward, whereas Suffocation had always favored a more technical approach.

The vocals, while brutal, aren't quite as drastic sounding as Frank Mullen's were in those days. Regardless, they fit the music perfectly and are among the more convincing in terms of the demonic majesty one should expect when listening to death metal.

As brutal and aggressive as the material on this 'ep' is, there is an unmistakable and gloomy atmosphere that surrounds it as well, not unlike early Incantation or Sweden's Crematory.

Even though much has been said throughout the years about the "evil" of black metal, etc... I have always known in my heart that that unfortunate style of music could never hold up against the gloom and the grime of classic death metal such as this, in terms of horrific atmospherics. Granted, I actually like much of Absu's more "blackened" catalog, but even that cannot compare to the hideous journey into the macabre that is The Temples of Offal. Interestingly enough, Absu's initiation into the circle of black metal would not take place until the arrival of drummer/lyricist/vocalist Russ Givens (-aka- Proscriptor) whose previous band Magus was equally as gloomy and cavernous as Absu in those early years, if not more so.

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