Album Title: Revulsion
Label: Transcending Obscurity
Date of Release: 5 February 2021
2021 would seem to be the year when long-awaited debut albums are released. After the success of Oceana and their debut that was 27 years in the making, today is the turn for the self-titled debut from Finland’s Revulsion, a band in business since 2005 but with only a demo, EP and single to their name until now.
I think it has something to do with the ongoing frustration and misery associated with lockdowns and being cut off from human contact, that I find myself more enamoured than ever with ugly, brutal and dirty music. And Revulsion certainly fit that description, delivering a relatively succinct and to-the-point brand of filthy, crushing death metal extremity to pound the ears of the unwary listener. Comprised of vocalist Aleksi Huhta, guitarists Jari Toppinen, Jarkko Viitasalo, bassist Tuomas Alatalo, and drummer Atte Karppinen, it is clear from the outset that Revulsion care not for subtlety or sophistication. They simply go on the attack and remain on the offensive for the entire 36 minutes of this debut record.
If you’re looking for lead guitar solos, then look elsewhere. If you’re looking for variety, then look elsewhere. And if you’re looking for moments of clarity, or restraint in your music, then definitely look elsewhere. This beast is not for you.
However, if it is sheer brutality that you seek, or if it is a relentless aural pummelling that floats your boat, then this is very much the album for you. It would also help if you are a fan of a deliberately raw and organic production, because that’s what you get here. And actually, it is perfect because it accentuates that gritty and dirty element of Revulsion’s music, without sacrificing any of the power. The guitars sound depraved as hell as they churn out riff after riff, whilst the bass is an audible gurgle within the bowels of the music, and the drums have an authenticity to them, whilst moving between relentless blastbeats and slower, more deliberate beats that are no less punishing.
Vocally, Aleksi Huhta does a good job behind the mic too. His growls are deep and gravelly for the most part, but he does occasionally issue forth a higher-pitched shriek when the music demands it. It’s just that they don’t really have much of a uniqueness about them that would elevate the music to an even higher level.
What I particularly like about ‘Revulsion’ however, is the intensity of the music, whether it is the faster-paced, pinched harmonic-imbued ‘Walls’, or the slower, more inexorable and bruising plod of tracks like ‘Mustaa Hiiltä’. The album only lasts for 36 minutes on purpose because any longer and you’d drown under the sheer weight of the music. And, despite a lack of histrionics like wailing and gnashing lead guitar breaks, the music has a certain groove to it that’s rather endearing and infectious. I’d not go so far as to say that Revulsion’s music is particularly warm, melodic, or fluffy, but there is a definite charm in the grooves that blast from the speakers, especially after a few concerted listens.
Then there’s the competence of each of the five musicians, which is unquestionably high and impressive. The riffs are very sharp for the most part, the drumming is full of precise beats that come through the thick, cloying production, and the bass is full of intent and relentlessness.
The nature of the music means that it is difficult to pick out any highlights. It’s more a case of if you like one track, you’ll like them all. I can’t really fault this death metal assault, but a smidgen more variety might have been nice. That said, if you just need to release some anger and get your groove on to a backdrop of uncompromising, depraved, and sadistic extreme death metal, I have no qualms in recommending this impressive self-titled debut album from Revulsion.
The Score of Much Metal: 83%
Further reviews from 2021:
You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here: