BODYFARM “Ultimate Abomination”
By Lord Randall
Returning with its fifth full-length in just over a decade, Netherlands death machine BODYFARM hopes to bring us “Ultimate Abomination”. “Torment” begins the assault, the scattershot sound of European death (early WOMBBATH a reference point), but mixed with the grime of OBITUARY’s pre-”The End Complete” years making no secret of the band’s influences.
There’s a freshness to it, though, “Symbolical Warfare” a head-down, forward-charging rager ala SLAYER before they lost their balls, new drummer David Schermann keeping the tank rolling forward and furiously. You don’t just walk into a band like BODYFARM with no preparation, and – as a good drummer can make the difference in death metal between “alright, I guess” and “holy shit!” – it’s a good fit in this case, rhythms both rabid and rocking to be found thus far, the natural swing of 3:21-4:00 suddenly jerked up by the guts for the songs finale.
Wisely keeping its song lengths around the 4-5 minute mark works well for the quartet, “The Swamp” being the longest on offer at over 6. I’ll admit to being a bit taken aback when the string section began this tune, but instead of being some tossed-in introduction, as the guitars build, the song progresses, you sense its importance in calling forth a mood. Moments of mid-period GRAVE surface here (think the title track from 2010’s “Burial Ground”), new vocalist/bassist Ralph de Boer stepping reverently and rightly into the space left by sadly departed Thomas Wouters (R.I.P.) with rumbling tribute, yet his own method of attack.
“Empire Of Iniquity” begins martial, military cadence quickly enough shifting to a mid-paced yet damaging execution, a song sure to get the pits moving on Europe’s legendary summer festival circuit. You’re not going to get anything groundbreaking with BODYFARM, but if you don’t find yourself reveling in sheer headbanging during “Soul Damnation”, you’re probably at the wrong site anyway.
Careening to a close with the perfect and punishing “Charlatan Messiah”, “Ultimate Abomination” is an album that strives mightily to deliver, and often lives up to its name. Here’s one to share with your friends who think old school death metal has stagnated.