Over the years, metal has seen quite a few unique viewpoints on various religions represented within our not-so-tiny circle of influence. From praises to Jesus to the unification of the three Abrahamic religions, there’s no shortage of good metal for those who want an alternative to all things Satan. That said, the Horned One still gets the vast majority of the best tunes out there, and newcomers Abysmal Lord from New Orleans, Louisiana, know this quite well. But with their debut, Disciples of the Inferno, not only have they brought nine hymns (plus an intro) to sacrifice, they also lowered his batting average of awesome tunes quite significantly.
After an introduction featuring what are supposed to be ominous sound effects and what sounds like an old ritual being performed at the Church of Satan, “Sabbat” lurches forward with a riff lifted from the Stormtroopers of Death‘s “Milk,” only sped up and tuned down. Then drummer J.B. comes in and hits cymbals over and over for about three minutes. Guitarist M.C. then pukes some words about Satan, I think, because I can’t discern what he’s saying between the bad riffing and the cymbals being hit everywhere. Finally, there’s an early Slayer-esque solo performed by either M.C. or fellow guitarist, Guillotine of Papal Crowns. Now that’s a name! And then it ends without making a dent, let alone a scar.
And now for the fun revelation, folks. Other than trying to find out just which better songs Abysmal Lord lifted their riffs from (“Temple of Perversion” has the main riff to Amorphis‘s far-superior “Black Embrace” from their 1992 debut, The Karelian Isthmus), Disciples of the Inferno is repetitious as all get-out. If Bill Murray’s character in Groundhog Day were to have fits of discomfort listening to Legion of Andromeda again, he would be having severe seizures listening to Disciples. It definitely feels like the same song is being played over and over again for 33 minutes (minus the intro). It’s basic riffs-cymbals, Cymbals, CYMBALS-regurgitation-fast riffs-CYMBALS-guitar solo-CYMBALS-burping-CYMBALS-end, washed, rinsed, and repeated for your pleasure. And it wouldn’t be such a problem if those riffs were the least bit attention-grabbing, other than “Temple of Perversion” causing me to listen to early Amorphis again shortly afterwards.
Produced by the band and someone named Nocturnal Damnation, they did a damn good job of making you aware that the band uses cymbals a lot. There’s a dude in the band named R.E. who is credited as their bass player, but I’ll be damned if I can find him anywhere on Disciples. Otherwise, with the exception of some unholy burps, the aforementioned Blasphemous Discs of Zildjian are upfront and center. But even if this album was produced to an immaculate level, it wouldn’t save this record from its sheer mediocrity. I’ve listened to this thing twice a day for a solid week, giving it my full undivided attention, and even going as far as lighting candles while wearing an evil robe (which you mortals call a “Snuggie”), and still nothing grabbed me [Not even the Fashion Police? – Steel Druhm].
Still, I know that there are legions of Beherit fans who will lap this up like demonic nectar. But for those of us who want their Satanic hymns to be a bit more memorable, it’s time for everyone’s favorite fallen angel to up his batting average again, as this is a pretty big whiff.