Review: “Abhorrent Obsessions” by Carrion Vael

Hailing from Richmond Indiana, Carrion Vael have been walking where Gods fear to tread since unveiling 2017’s “Resurrection Of The Doomed” confirmed their abilities in alchemy, combining elements of Technical, Melodic and Traditional Death Metal with not only Thrash but Slam and Old School Death Metal to create a sound that stands out from the Wolfpack of the bands in the US Midwest. The quintet refined their work with 2020’s “God Killer” as Travis Lawson Purcell (vocals), Alex Arford (bass), Trent Limburg (guitar), Chris Smiley (drums) and Ryan Kuder (guitar) continued to draw influences lyrically from famous serial killers and mass murders in history, sharing stages with the likes of The Black Dahlia Murder and Cattle Decapitation along the way.

Abhorrent Obsessions is a psychological look into the mind of the famously deranged, sick, and murderous ones amongst us. Technical, brutal, and melodically charged, we wrote this album with the utmost in absolute savagery at heart” ~ vocalist Travis Lawson Purcell

The third chapter in the career of Carrion Vael begins with the longest cut on the record in “Wings of Deliverance” as the band don’t follow the left hand path that others before them have and cut the 48 second introduction as a separate track. A collection of samples which seemingly refer to an incident like the Waco siege bleed into a brutal cut that brings flavours of Australians Psycroptic as Purcell demonstrates his ability to switch between voices and tones giving a schizophrenic edge to vocals. The galloping drums set a breakneck pace to provide the adrenaline rush while the guitars have an interesting Technical Melodic style that builds on the symphonic elements that make the cut darkly cinematic and give it a real sense of not only epic grandeur but majesty. “The Devil in Me” then severs flesh from bone with some technical riffs that bring bounce, as if a breakdown was comprised of leads, while continuing the high octane approach. The false ending is a brilliantly timed moment of silence that brings in some Nekrogoblikon esq throat spilling shriller vocals, once again building the cinematic undertones to give everything a greater depth and gravity. Sweeping riffs introduce “King of the Rhine” in barnstorming fashion, the restless and relentless performance from drummer Smiley being completely astounding and up there with the best in the Death Metal genre. The symphonic touches are well balanced and used to bejewel and build atmosphere rather than overpower, rising up and then falling away like the swell of the ocean in the darkness of night and on this one the piano simply adds fuel to an already raging fire. The comedic title of “Kentucky Fried Strangulation” aside, the cut is an absolute beast of a pummelling as the band simply lay down the gauntlet for any and all would be opponents in go hard or go home style, following the earlier cuts and maintaining the momentum without so much as flinching.

Staccato riff breaks with greater symphonics set “Tithes of Forbearance“, it’s face melting tapping section of a solo given an almost ethereal backing as the flames that surround the band kiss the sky and confirm them as an unstoppable force. A ripper of a solo then cuts into a momentary almost spoken word clean vocal part that is then torn limb from limb as the band slickly transition back out of it into an earth shattering set of riffs that are accompanied by the repeated chant of “Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill! Kill!” that will no doubt be chanted back to the band by fans at live shows. Each cut packs a wealth of nuance in the riff department that upon each repeated listen to the record you’ll hear something new because the human brain simply can’t cope with the sheer speed of the execution of on display here, it’s that good. “Disturbia” repeats the clean vocal moment but in a far more off kilter way that makes you question Purcell’s sanity and the echoes of dissonance that see the monster depart are absolutely stunning. “Malleus Maleficarum” is Latin for “Hammer of Witches“, referencing a legal and theological document from 1486 about witchcraft including detection and its extirpation that was used well into the 18th century in Europe and is a fine example of the intelligence of the lyrics which Purcell has inked as well as how well read he is. Sonically the cut is another ripper with another face melting solo that slaps harder and cuts deeper than the nails dragged across the face from a woman scorned and while the band mention both Thrash and Slam elements being in their sound, there are none present. Not that there is any room for them in this maelstrom of an album because it has everything and the kitchen sink to make it a Symphonic Technical Death Metal masterpiece and that’s before we’ve even spoken about grand finale “The Paint Shop“, which brings the curtain down in style [9/10]

Track Listing

  1. Wings of Deliverance
  2. The Devil in Me
  3. King of the Rhine
  4. Kentucky Fried Strangulation
  5. Tithes of Forbearance
  6. Disturbia
  7. Malleus Maleficarum
  8. The Paint Shop

Abhorrent Obsessions” by Carrion Vael is out 12th August 2022 via Unique Leader Records

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published.