Abhor – Sex Sex Sex (Ceremonia Daemonis Anticristi) Review

Cometh the day, cometh the dissemination of yet more black metal. I am reliably informed by the album’s one sheet that Abhor and their new release entitled Sex Sex Sex (Ceremonia Daemonis Anticristi) is “anticipated.” Quite by whom is unclear, considering that these Italians have toiled in obscurity for 8 albums across 27 years without generating much in the way of “buzz.” It also seems unnecessary to include biographical information about the band when confronted with such a title. I couldn’t resist the allure of Sex Sex Sex irrespective of the band producing it, such is my delight at the premise of satanic copulation1. Will you feel satisfied or drained following the encounter?

Abhor draw from the ungodly wellspring of black metal, but take more from the 80s’ first wave than the 90s’ second. The songs are initially basic as they orient around well-defined riffs, simplistic rhythms and a lilting mid-tempo. But I can’t argue that Sex Sex Sex lacks dynamism as over time more layers unfurl. The music shifts through short passages of varying tempos and tones, and liberally uses organ-backed atmospheric weirdness. Despite this, I wish the infrequent faster moments were more frequent; they energize the typically lilting pace and offer sharper teeth than the organs. Even though it’s clearly a black metal release, it lacks heaviness and evilness to complete the package. The solid production goes some way to bolstering Abhor’s sound but fundamentally cannot overcome this song-writing flaw. It offers suitably rough instrumental tones but enough clarity in the mix for each instrument to breathe, and a stronger bottom-end than black metal often allows. My only misgiving is that the organ is bit too loud – partly resulting in the “evil” issue.

Sex Sex Sex is also notable in its atmosphere. Through this, the album’s title makes more sense. “The Curse of the Twins” set a b-movie tone through a cheesy organ, ominous synths and a faux choir, such organ featuring abundantly across the album. “Evil Mentor” opens with a prayer to Satan, hamming up the sense of amateur horror dramatics. Aside from specific passages which are deliberately faster or slower, most of record moves with a mid-tempo sway; it’s almost sultry and connects the black metal music with Abhor’s chosen theme. While it is detrimental that Sex Sex Sex isn’t as dark, angry or despondent as its genre can be, and I want more aggressive moments, the sense of perversion and insanity is also mildly amusing.

What’s less amusing is the track-pacing. The worst couple of tracks don’t feel connected as standalone songs, partly because they feature too much filler and partly because they’re too long. “At the Edge of the Circle” is directionless and “October 31st, 2010”2 is aggravating as a seemingly-unending long track. Across Sex Sex Sex overall, if you remove the superfluous introductory and concluding tracks, the average song length here is nearly 6 minutes. Each song needs to justify its own length but a number here don’t achieve that. By comparison, “Beelzebuth” should have been the model track. In just 3:39 it builds tension through a moody opening, shifts gear into a rollicking, speed metal-influenced lead and progresses through its back half into a strange choral passage. It boasts all the best elements of the record without any of the bad, and Abhor would have excelled had they arranged their cooler material into shorter tracks.

All this leaves an uneven record. Abhor cannot be accused of being “just another” black metal band through their interesting atmosphere and robust production. But equally, had they absorbed a few more typically blackened influences I think it would have been a trimmer, heavier and ultimately better release. The presence of filler in Sex Sex Sex, especially across its second two-thirds, drags things out and dilutes the quality. There are promising elements to the package but my overall response is that it isn’t sufficiently engaging. I don’t Abhor Sex Sex Sex but I’d still say no to the offer.

Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps MP3
Label: Iron Bonehead Productions
Websites: abhor.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/abhor
Releases worldwide: September 23rd, 2022

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Incidentally, demanding sex sex sex from Steel Druhm will earn you nothing less than 10 lashings.
  2. Objectively the worst date format.
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