Revulsion – Revulsion Review

Revulsion has crept along the darkened edges of the Finnish death metal scene for over a decade. Despite this long existence, they only had an EP and a single to show for their wretched existence. 2021 finally sees them crack the ice and release their debut full-length on an unsuspecting world. Their self-titled effort has some gruesome things in store for death metal fans, with a hefty, burly style based around thick grooves seasoned with just enough doom and dissonance to avoid sounding like another old school act. At times their straight-ahead bulldozing style reminds of Dying Fetus, other times they invoke vintage Vader. There’s even a subtle undercurrent of classic Floridian death percolating under the rotten soil. In short, Revulsion is olde enough to bear DNA imprints from all the key eras of death and they do their best to cobble them together into a cohesive killer entity.

The sound of a long-running band with a firm idea of who and what they are greets you on savage opener “Last Echoes of Life.” Blasting drums and wild, corkscrewing riffs do their best to remove your outer skin layers before the band locks into a deadly, concussive groove which they ride down Witch Mountain toward a sleeping village full of posers. Through it all Aleksi Huta unleashes Hell with a venomous death bellow that hits you right where it should. The only thought left in my damaged brain by song’s end was, “why did it take these cats so long to get a debut out there?” Before I could inquire further I was gobsmacked by the martial, authoritarian riffage that kicks off “Pyre.” This is the album high point for me as the entire song is designed to blow your head off with great wengeance and furious anger. The crushing riffs, confrontational drumming, and nasty death roars all conspire to embiggen the spirit and rile up the blood. This is my kind of death.

The band shows the ability to shake things up well, as “Mustaa hiiltä” is much more a lurching doom death cut sitting someplace between early Kuolemanlaakso and the heaviest moments of Ghost Brigade. The massive riffs feel like a 57 Chevy on your chest and the ominous brooding atmosphere is satisfying. It’s a stark shift from the in-your-face attacking style the album revels in for its first 9 minutes, but the transition works. From there things swing between the two extremes, sometimes pulverizing for the sake of pulverizing as on the very Dying Fetus-esque “Lihaan sidottu kirja,” and other times leveraging darker moods and more melodic avenues like on the vaguely Dark Tranquillity-like “Unravel.” Both sides of the coin work quite well and the material has a vibrant enthusiasm. As much as I enjoy what Revulsion brings to the table, the album is quite front loaded, and the best material shows up early. While none of the songs are bad, the quality does slowly decline as the album plays out, with closer “Viimeinen Rituaali” being my least favorite moment. It’s a bit of a slog and as the longest song on offer, it ends a fairly exciting album on a rather subdued, flat note.

The beefy, powerful grooves that Jarkko Viitasalo and Jari Toppinen attempt to crack your cranium with are the defining sound of Revulsion. They’re adept at crafting leads that shake your foundations and feel unstoppable, occasionally hinting at the no-nonsense, gorilla style of Cannibal Corpse. Likewise, the guitar tone is thick and massive. They eschew solos in favor of unceasing riff battery, and this approach works for them. Aleksi Huta brings his A+ game, providing deep, guttural croaks and urgent roars. He even dabbles in a more restrained melodeath bark at times. He leaves an impression regardless of style and he’s an exceptional lead throat. I’m also enamored with the bass-work of Tuomas Alatalo. His popping, rumbling lines intrude loudly at times, providing an accent and giving the material a vaguely techy sheen. He doesn’t overdo it, but you always know he’s around. At 38 minutes, the album is a good length and doesn’t feel like too much of a heavy thing. Most of the songs sit between 2-3 minutes, which helps them hit hard and split. This approach is to be admired.

Revulsion is a promising debut by a band with a lot of experience under their belts even if they lack the recorded output to prove it. There are some very good moments present and their style can certainly wreck a spinal column. With a bit more polish and more consistent writing, they could knock a whole bunch of teeth loose in the coming years. Here’s hoping they don’t make us wait 10 years for the follow-up.

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 128 kbps mp3
Label: Transcending Obscurity
Websites: |
Releases Worldwide: February 5th, 2021

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