Carrion Vael – Abhorrent Obsessions Review

A Chicago friend (who shall remain nameless for safety reasons) once told me nothing good comes from Indiana. From my personal experience, I am willing to agree. But then I heard Carrion Vael, and some of my opinions on the matter have changed. Formed back in 2008, it wasn’t until a few years ago that the band began releasing material. And they’ve been at it ever since. Their first two records have been traditional in the melodic death sphere—mixing American variations with Swedish ones. But, what I like about their sound is the mix of The Black Dahlia Murder burliness with the relentless speed and riff changes of Mors Principium Est. Both albums run a similar course, but the sophomore release, God Killer, started dabbling with more technicality and subtle At the Gates vibes. You’ll even find some clean vocals rearing their ugly head on “Psalm of Lies.” With an obvious desire to explore and expand their sound, one can only guess where this year’s Abhorrent Obsessions will take them. And, believe you me, it was not what you’d expect.

While the band has always displayed impressive drum and guitar work, somewhere in the last two years, they amped it way the fuck up. But not in the way you’d expect from a melodic death metal band. Instead, they dug deep and mustered up Origin-inspired tech death absurdity. This is most apparent in “The Devil in Me.” This song is a calculated piece of intricate riff changes that make it difficult to tell if you’re listening to the same track at times. “Malleus Maleficarum” is another tasty techer with a nice melodic passage and surprising solo work. But, between these two tracks, “The Devil in Me” is far more engaging.

The band has also explored big key atmospheres that are like the bastard child of Cattle Decapitation and Dimmu Borgir. The best examples of these blackened atmospheres exist in the intro to “Wings of Deliverance” and the outro to “The Paint Shop.” The Mors Principium Est assault that is “Tithes of Forbearance” even ventures further into Dimmu Borgir territory with its bursts of tremolos and bass drum. But these additions are one of many insane riff changes that occur in this song. And, when you think it’s over, it unleashes a final MPE-inspired death march that’ll make your neck snap. That said, the best song is “King of the Rhine.” It opens with more symphonic atmospheres before taking you on a rollercoaster ride to hell. As it builds, the intensity becomes thick with hate and is home to the most vicious vocals on the record.

After all that, the most prominent evolution in Abhorrent Obsessions is the Cattle Decapitation-like combination of barks, shrieks, and gorgeous cleans. Though Carrion Vael can never achieve those one-of-a-kind cleans of Cattle Decapitation, their impact is still effective. “Tithes of Forbearance” and “Disturbia” introduce these vocals with clean guitars that explode into majestic atmospheres. While the back half of closer, “The Paint Shop,” explodes into a headbangable riff where the various vocal styles all fight for dominance.

I never had any doubt I would like Abhorrent Obsessions with lyrics like, “Die, I just want you to die / I don’t give a fuck how you just die / Die, by the blade, from the shame, asphyxiation, hell comes all just the same.” But, I was pleasantly surprised by the increased attention to detail and calculated songwriting. Though songs like “Malleus Maleficarum” don’t have the staying power of the rest, Abhorrent Obsessions is a beast of a record. The production is clean, the drums are massive, the riffs are rich, and each solo pairs with the mood. It’ll be interesting to see where Carrion Vael goes next. But I feel they have found the sound that suits them best.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kb/s mp3
Label: Unique Leader Records | Bandcamp1
Websites: carrionvael.bandcamp.com2 |
Releases Worldwide: August 12th, 20223

Show 3 footnotes

  1. Click here for the new album.
  2. Click here for the Resurrection of the Doomed.
  3. Click here for God Killer.
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