Indiana’s Carrion Vael return with their third studio album, Abhorrent Obsessions, an eight-track, thirty-eight-minute release that is as complex as it is brutal, melding a strong Technical Death Metal element with Melodic and traditional Death Metal plus aspects of subtly delivered Slam as well as a symphonic edge. An intriguing mix that sounds mindboggling on paper but when you listen you find it works better than you can possibly imagine, so skilfully has it been constructed.
Carrion Vael – Abhorrent Obsessions (Unique Leader Records)
Release Date: 12 August 2022
Words: Jools Green
The quintet, for this release, draw influences lyrically from famous serial killers and mass murders in history. “Abhorrent Obsessions is a psychological look into the mind of the famously deranged, sick, and murderous ones amongst us,” vocalist Travis Lawson Purcell says. “Technical, brutal, and melodically charged, we wrote this album with the utmost in absolute savagery at its heart.”
Abhorrent Obsessions absolutely entranced me from the offset, for the sheer quantity and quality of content and the ability to hold my attention with a dropped jaw expression. From the opening notes, it has you in its grasp as dramatic symphonics and a searing scream herald the arrival of opener Wings Of Deliverance. Breaking into a frenzy of technical brutality, with a restrained breakdown just before midway, the equally subtle symphonic undercurrent just adds depth and richness. The second-half leadwork that suddenly bursts forth is superb, with the vocals delivered as both a lower growl and a higher acerbic hiss.
Whilst the drum work and riffing are superb across this whole album there is a wonderful synergy in the way they both entwine and battle it out on The Devil In Me. A superb track that moves between being a brutal driver and ebbing back to a more reflective mood, with a second-half solo that is not too shabby either and a decidedly impressive extended closing growl.
King Of The Rhine, is awash with catchy repeats and technical complexities delivered with precision at an impressive pace whilst the symphonic element which is more subtle and sparse here, adds a dark undertone.
I love Kentucky Fried Strangulation just for the title alone. Musically it doesn’t disappoint either. With sharp technical guitarwork, it packs a massive punch and the piano-rich symphonic part in the second half adds a striking contrast.
Followed by Tithes Of Forbearance, another sharp number with the symphonic side adding a haunting edge, you also get a very haunting burst of second half leadwork and a brief burst of clean vocals.
Quick off the starting blocks, Disturbia delivers a frenzy of brutality, technical excellence and exhilarating midpoint leadwork. With a twist just after, the sound suddenly turns reflective with clean tortuous vocals briefly before returning to the brutal frenzy. An excellent track that really surprises.
Translating as the Hammer Of Witches, Malleus Maleficarum might be inspired by the fifteenth-century Catholic clergyman Heinrich Kramer, also known as Henricus Institor, head of a German inquisitorial commission who “brought witches to justice.”
An impressively fast, complex and driving piece with stunning guitarwork throughout, particularly the closing leadwork, just before which, it becomes a crushing beast of a track, adding an impressive contrast when that leadwork does arrive and with the vocals split into higher acerbic hissing and lower growls.
There is no let-up in terms of intensity and brutality with the final track The Paint Shop. Even though the pace drops in the second half to allow tortuous cleans break through between the harsh vocals, finally the symphonic undercurrent returns, fading into a choral and piano close.
Abhorrent Obsessions was recorded at Sicktones Studios with engineer/producer Jack Daniels and will be released as a CD and digital album initially and as a limited edition 12“coloured vinyl in September.