By Dr. Abner Mality
Amid the constant flood of extreme metal into my inbox, few bands stand out. APPALLING is one of the few. Emerging from one of the hottest metal cities in the US, Richmond, VA, these guys grabbed me from the first notes of “The Morningstar After” and didn’t let go until the final agonizing squeal of “These People Need To Die”. They play a brand of truly blackened death metal that has some thought behind it.
Opening track “The Morningstar After” is a peculiar beginning that grabs your attention, as the song is less than 2 minutes long and yet is not the ultra-typical intro. It’s a mid-paced cruncher that plays with your expectations and leads into the fiery blast of “Life In Prism”, which brings the war-like scourging of 1349 and MARDUK to mind, but mixed with a bit of American death metal. The riffs are fierce but very distinct...there’s no mud or war metal mush here. From there, APPALLING show a great command of hook and tempo, injecting “chug and thug” riffing into scorching blackness, with “Unwavering Feeling of Dread And Despair” being a good example.
But it’s hard to pick a top track, as the quality is very consistent across the board. The vocalist’s crispy rasps are the very definition of what a singer in this genre should sound like. There’s also just the faintest ghost of melody amid the mayhem and a rich guitar sound that doesn’t go overboard on the treble or bass both. As for lyrics, the band seems to live up to the album title, with track names like “Nunsploitation”, “Father Inferior” and “Collection Plate”, where hatred of Mother Church is palpable.
APPALLING really should be a force in American black/death metal, but frankly, I don’t think Personal Records from Mexico is going to be the vehicle to get them there. That being said, do your part and seek out “Sacrilege” for top-notch blackened death.