ALBUM REVIEW: Carrion Vael – Abhorrent Obsessions


For what it’s worth, there seems to be quite the shift in a certain corner of the Melodic Death Metal camp as bands are increasingly shying away from the vintage, glossy (as glossy as death metal can get) vocals in favor of more biting, explosive intensity that prioritizes grit over rudimentary formulae.

It’s not that the cleanly produced, crisp brand of melodeath is entirely absent from the fold; but that label alone used to connote a (for the most part) smooth style of screaming, grunting, or growling. Nowadays, artists are mustering more forward-thinking displays of vocal prowess that have been pushing the boundaries of what it means to play under the Melodic Death Metal banner.


Abhorrent Obsessions (Unique Leader) – the third record churned out by Indiana’s Carrion Vael – struggles to contain the blistering, burly ambush that front man Travis Lawson injects into the eight punishing tracks. The eloquent balance of high-pitched shrieking and domineering grunting satisfies fans of either approach.


In response to Exocrine’s scintillating, technically proficient firestorm released earlier this year, Carrion Vael took the baton in the name of Unique Leader Records and exploded out of the gates, further fortifying the label’s robust recent track record, especially when it comes to no-nonsense, proficiently pronounced music.


Lawson’s ability to pirouette from one tone to the next on a dime thrives on ‘King Of The Rhine’, bellowing out the lyrics with supersonic ferocity. Spooky symphonics in the same vein as Carach Angren are heard as an appetizer before the onslaught continues.

‘Tithes Of Forbearance’ stands out with its stimulating harshes coupled with techy guitars and penetrating blast beats.


The forty-three minute record does away with most of the preconceived notions that accompany Melodic Death Metal. Abhorrent Obsessions is instead intricate, volatile and coarse. Carrion Vael incorporate a particular bite that electrifies each song and imbues them with a sense of brutality which takes the work of the early purveyors of the genre to the next level.


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7 / 10