Most of Nicolas Cage’s movies suck the ass of Satan and are bad to the point of unintentional comedy. His face and acting are more terrifying than any horror film, and his performance in Ghost Rider alone gives The Human Centipede a run for the money in the shit eating department. He’s been in three movies that aren’t cinematic diarrhea – Leaving Las Vegas, Wild at Heart and 8 MM. While the first two are actually great movies (Wild At Heart especially for featuring Powermad), 8 MM is notable less for being good and more for its exploration of the depraved world of snuff porn. As protagonist Tom Welles goes deep (pun intended) into the seedy underground, led by porn shop employee Max California (played by the harelipped reminder of what could have been, Joaquin Phoenix) he finds himself both fascinated and repulsed by what he encounters. As a viewer, one also feels this unease as somewhere in there, our darkest reaches are drawn to what is so wrong. A morbid curiosity that makes you unable to look away from a bloody accident, drives the tongue to probe a sore spot in the mouth, or makes you eat White Castle at 4 AM drunk, fully knowing that there is a reason they call them “sliders,” and that by 8 AM you will have to crawl out of bed and plant yourself on the crapper to jettison all that grease and cheap beer.
Pete Helmkamp’s varied projects over the years have one special unifying quality: there is something unsettling about them all that transcends music and hits the core of your being, reminding you that the world is an immaculately fucked up place and our tenure on it is tentative at best. For those of us with that morbid curiosity, a trip through the long, nail-studded sleeve of releases under his bullet belt will remind us of just that. From the more well-known Order From Chaos, Angelcorpse and Revenge to the less infamous Terror Organ, Kerasphorous and Feldgrau (the latter two of which are particularly nasty), the material has been written with others. Larvae Offal Swine, the debut album under the moniker Abhomine, is Helmkamp’s first true solo effort in which he wrote and performed all of the music with the exception of the drums. How does this nigh legendary extreme metal front man stand when on his own?
Pretty fucking tall, especially for someone of his actual stature and how far he has to figuratively fall. While the material herein draws from most of his current and previous bands (though the industrial feel of Terror Organ and Feldgrau are absent), with Abhomine, Helmkamp has carved a niche of his own. Revenge was refined through its chaos, particularly on 2008’s Infiltration.Downfall.Death (his last with the band), and there is an absolute lack of anything the layperson could sink his or her teeth into. Similarly, Feldgrau‘s collision of industrial and black metal is so harsh on the ears even the initiated may have a hard time with it. With Abhomine, the average Metallica or Pantera fan may be left to swim in shark-infested waters, but there are enough smatterings of the familiar to widen the appeal a bit, and there’s a maniacal chaos even this seasoned writer has a hard time placing his bloodied finger on.
Similar to early Morbid Angel, Abhomine reside in that netherworld somewhere between death metal and black metal with an underlying menace of grindcore. Album opener proper “Buried With Pig” has great bass WHOOMs right out of KISS‘s “Deuce.” The bass breakdowns in the opening of “Blackmaguswhitehouse,” perhaps my favorite track, have the stench of “Suffocation” off Altars of Madness and the crushing slow section at the end is the musical equivalent of Ex-Lax – a riff so heavy you will shit your pants. The guitar sound is like a hornet’s nest. Painful, piercing, and unsettling. Hemlmkamp began playing guitar a few years back reportedly to get these very riffs out of his head and, despite being a relative novice compared to some of his previous counterparts, his ear for penning cacophonous compositions is strong. Similar to Angelcorpse, the average tempo wavers around “fast as fuck,” so when things do go funereal they are all the more effective. “Kapos and Whores” is a prime example, pounding until the 3/4 mark and descending sharply into a menacing groove for a mere half a minute. Unlike Angelcorpse, there is not a single solo throughout the proceedings. His immediately identifiable snarl is seething, particularly on “Narcocult,” and by the time the same dissonant drone that opened things closes them out, the listener is left traumatized and tortured.
Hovering around 27 minutes in length, like its creator, Larvae Offal Swine is short, militant and mean. It’s been a fuck of a few years for Pete Helmkamp fans, particularly with Order From Chaos and Angelcorpse recently touring and Kerasphorous once again rearing its ugly head. Though, can you really be a “fan” of music that proclaims “man is the root of abomination?” Would a true misanthrope release music for the masses? When shit is this effective, who the fuck cares? Sit back, probe that sore spot, and enjoy the gruesome savagery that is Abhomine.
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Hells Headbangers Records
Websites: hellsheadbangers.bandcamp.com/album/larvae-offal-swine | facebook.com/abhomine
Releases Worldwide: April 29th, 2016