Bernard Black: “Enjoy. It’s dreadful, but it’s quite short.”
That deadpan quip from Black Books’ misanthropic protagonist distills much of the blink-and-you’ll-miss-it output of grindcore, metal’s premature ejaculator. Whereas genres like prog and doom resemble a padded-out epic novel, grindcore, with its malnourished running times, is akin to a haiku, leaving little room for complex song structures or virtuoso performances.
The blast-beat cries out
A Hyperactive discharge
At least it was brief
After producing a pair of demos, Abatuar have finally decided to unleash their debut, Perversiones De Muerte Putrefacta. Coming in at around 30 minutes and divided into 12 bite-sized morsels of death and grind, the album doesn’t stop to smell the roses. Whether this leaves us slavering for more or wiping our brow, thankful of the short affair, remains to be seen.
You may have gathered by the band name and album title that Abatuar bear Spanish heritage. If you also guessed that this is another in the long line of one-man death/black/grind projects then cheers, you’re on a roll. The sole proprietor goes by the cuddly stage name Cadaver. Thing is, Cadaver doesn’t hail from the Latin American countries that disgorge metal bands on a regular basis and instead we find that Panama is where Abatuar calls home. This was a surprising revelation as a cursory scan of other Panamanian bands at Metal-Archives reveals a paltry 70 listings, of which only half are currently active. It seems that Panama may be a tax haven, but it’s not a metal one.
Of unlikely origin Cadaver may be, but one cannot deny that rust screeches through his metal veins. Perversiones De Muerte Putrefacta is loud, intense and possessed of snarling opprobrium. Does it offer anything novel? Not particularly. Opening cut “Los Efectos de la Gangrena y Putrefacción” delivers a meaty helping of death/grind, breaking up the blast-beats with pockets of down-tempo chords. The sound is wet, loose and faintly chaotic, a trait carried throughout the entire album. It is also predictable and under-cooked, the track’s impact stymied by half-hearted composition. This persists across most of the songs on offer. Where Perversiones De Muerte Putrefacta shines is when it mixes things up, introducing some sneering hardcore riffs in tracks “Adoctrinamiento Colectivo Genocid” and “Deidades Sepultadas con Restos Hu” that reminded me of Poison Idea at times. Cadaver puts in a solid, if unremarkable, vocal performance, his incomprehensible shrieks, rasps and fetid belching making me think of Cryptopsy’s Lord Worm.
The production is shabby and denuded of the spit-and-polish of most modern recordings. This isn’t a criticism, however, as the viscous audio befits the primal music that crashes and tumbles out from one’s speakers. Perhaps it’s fitting that the mix is reminiscent of a hastily cobbled together demo as that is what Perversiones De Muerte Putrefacta resembles most strongly: a collection of well-meaning but under-developed tracks. There’s nothing here that is particularly egregious but neither does it offer a compelling reason to part with one’s precious cash.
It may seem I take a perverse pleasure in turning the screws on Abatuar but that’s not my intention. Perversiones De Muerte Putrefacta has its moments and I often found myself nodding my head in appreciation of a stray riff or some pummeling percussion but those moments were fleeting. When tracks are so short, a band needs to be firing on all cylinders to ensure every second counts. Abatuar make a commendable effort but by-and-large the songs struggle to reach escape velocity and end up plummeting back down to Earth.
Can any band spin straw into gold when tracks are so short? Laudable acts such as Nasum, Circle of Dead Children and Napalm Death sport such triumphs, but these outfits have accomplished such feats by excising every frivolous note in service of a tight, focused blast of primal intensity. Cadaver has some ways to go before he can count himself among such rarefied talent. While Abatuar’s debut was a welcome distraction, more work needs to be done before that name will be first on your lips as you itch for something quick ‘n’ dirty.
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Dunkelheit Productions
Websites: bandcamp.com/album/perversiones-de-muerte-putrefacta | facebook.com/abatuar
Releases Worldwide: April 1st, 2017