In a post-Khanate, Primitive Man-inhabited world, it takes a lot to make a properly rotting, disgusting record. Bands like Asva and Atavist did their level best to trawl the swamp, but the new album from Pennsylvania’s Abjection Ritual has spent many dejected hours compiling its own fetid collection of used needles to deliver an album that stands proudly in this bilious pantheon.
Soul Of Ruin, Body Of Filth is even less sanitary than the title suggests. A self-described death-industrial nightmare, this new work picks up where previous skag-fest Futility Rites left off, with less robotic vocals and a significant ramp-up in both density and atmosphere. Far from a straight-up noise-wall, this new opus is thicker, darker, more invasive, more human than their previous work. Starting with the “oooh-is-this-a-BM-record?” intro of ‘Lamentations’, …Body Of Filth takes the listener on an arms-up descent into broken glass, blood and dark sex, the pinnacle of which is the harrowing ‘Blood Mother’. six minutes of early Unearthly Trance/Swans crossover with a spoken word section about spreading HIV doesn’t exactly scream UK Top 40, though one assumes that was hardly Abjection Ritual’s intention.
Elsewhere, the bat-coated shrieking of Oxbow-flecked song ‘Ruin’ gives way to some clean vocals, though ‘clean’ is clearly a subjective term in this instance. There are shards of other bands strewn through this broken, wretched squat of a record – the 5ive guitar sounds on ‘Body Of Filth’, the sinister creep of Blood Of The Black Owl’s A Banishing Ritual on ‘Deathbed Conversion’, the hulking shadow of The Body on final track ‘Old Sins’ – but these are inferences, only particles of Abjection Ritual’s DNA that make up their blackened whole.
It would be genuinely remiss to say that the idea here was to create a record that you would stick on to relax to after a long, hard day. What we have here is the representation of a band’s view of our species, and it is not favourable. It’s unlikely, given the extremely striking cover art, that anyone would go into this album assuming it would be like Girls Aloud, and the effect is akin to knowing the ending of Se7en; being aware of the final outcome doesn’t change how horrifying the journey is.
There’s a hint of Aussie noise-duo Halo slithering about in the muck of Soul Of Ruin, Body Of Filth; an otherness that can only come from commitment to a singular worldview. Despite the occasional concession to melody, this is a heartless indictment of our species, a deliberate stare into the appalling behaviour of nature’s worst creation – man.
Soul Of Ruin, Body Of Filth is out now. Purchase here.
Words: John Tron Davidson