Let’s get it out of the way: the album title actually means something. It’s fear of large things in the water. Like sea monsters, the Megalodon (look it up,) forgotten Eldritch abominations or just damn good death metal.
Abhorrence is an interesting band. This Finnish death metal band formed in 1989, lasted for a year, re-formed in 2012, and still doesn’t have a full-length album to its name. Which is a shame because what they have come this year to offer is seriously good. It’s death metal. You have your downtuned guitars, two of them, churning out ominous, catchy riffs; you have your drums with their double bass attacks and sturdy hits; you’ve got your grumbling bass, and; throaty growls that relate to you the story of this particular massive horror from the deep. Add a few samples for maximum oceanic effect and you have, in a nutshell, Megalohydrothalassaphobic.
Megalohydrothalassaphobic‘s greatest strength is Abhorrence’s approach to songwriting: rather than going a million miles a minute, the band chooses to create a steadier, sturdier, more grounded experience. The songs rely more on establishing themselves than noodling showmanship and the end result is heavy and foreboding. That isn’t to say that the EP doesn’t deliver the goods or it’s a slog-fest. On the contrary, even when mid-paced (Anthem for the Anthropocene), the Megalohydrothalassaphobic is pretty excitable and full of energy. Hyperobject Beneath the Waves is a good example: it starts out full blast and when it somewhat slows down, it retains its energy. This is much, much more preferable to songs struggling to break the mid-pace barrier and failing, so huge props for that.
Of course, death without atmosphere is hollow. Luckily, Megalohydrothalassaphobic excels in that regard. The EP’s name captures the aura created here: it feels like getting stuck in a submarine, wary of the things that dwell in the depths. Far as depictions of aquatic horrors go, the band’s ability to create a suitably scaled, slightly paranoid and dark atmosphere with only their hulking riffs is applause-worthy. I mean, the creepy, apocalypse-right-now vibes of The End Has Already Happened aside, the whole affair is rife with a feeling of dread usually reserved for Eldritch abominations and invokes images of staring out into the ocean from a tiny metal capsule.
The jury, however, is still out on why the ambient or spoken word intro is so mandatory for albums, because Megalohydrothalassaphobic opens like that. While concept-wise (and from a poetic standpoint) the intro sets things up adequately, there is still no reason why it could not have been attached to the first track as an instrumental intro. I just don’t believe delaying what we came here for is in any way a good idea, especially since neither the EP’s length, nor song lengths, nor structure, nor flow is ever an issue here.
So, what’s the verdict? This is good. Death metal lovers will dig it, I imagine, and so will those who (like myself) are just getting into the genre or are flirting with it but aren’t sure if they should dive in rather than just dip their toes. At a very comfortable length, solid and sturdy, Megalohydrothalassaphobic is good stuff. Watch this band.
Jussi “Juice” Ahlroth – bass
Kalle Mattsson – guitars
Tomi Koivusaari – guitars
Jukka Kolehmainen – vocals
Waltteri Väyrynen – drums
01. Intro: The Mesh
02. Anthem for the Anthropocene
03. The Four Billion Year Dream
04. Hyperobject Beneath the Waves
05. The End Has Already Happened