Abhorrence - Totally Vulgar: Live At Tuska Open Air album review

Finland’s death metal pioneers overlook the sound of the crowd

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Next to Disgrace, Demigod and Demilich, the short-lived Abhorrence did most of the spadework for the Finnish death metal scene as the 90s dawned, before guitarist and main songwriter Tomi Koivusaari moved on to form Amorphis. Their heritage has never truly faded away, leading to their reunion five years ago after all their recordings were reissued for the Completely Vulgar compilation, and this appearance in 2013 at Finland’s biggest outdoor festival. Featuring four of Abhorrence’s five original members, the nine-track setlist – basically the entirety of their two sole ‘official’ releases: one demo and one EP – benefits from the two decades-plus worth of experience they’ve acquired, resulting in a sound that’s even more brutal, as exemplified by their most well-known song, Vulgar Necrolatry, which was covered by Amorphis on their debut EP. But as essential to early DM as Abhorrence might be, and while the mix is stellar for a live document, the crowd and their roaring are sadly inaudible, turning Totally Vulgar into an efficient yet austere ‘live in the Studio’- sounding document.