Back in September 2020, we premiered the Maggot Stomp-released EP, Self-Immolation Suite, from one-man death metal project, Unurnment, the work of Sacramento guitarist/vocalist Fred Avila. Eighteen months later, Avila is back with a full band—Jeremy Meier (drums) and Bailey Lupo (bass)—and a decidedly different approach. Abysmalist came together in 2018 when Avila and Meier (also members of Primal Rite) started working on material that was darker, uglier and more extreme than Primal Rite’s crossover thrash. The duo recorded a four-track EP, released on cassette on Caligari Records in 2019, before enlisting Lupo to flesh out the band for live work. Unfortunately Abysmalist were only able to play one date before the pandemic, so the trio put their efforts toward writing and recording their debut full-length, Vile Possession, set for release on Maggot Stomp on April 8.
Though Avila’s deep, uvula-rattling exhortations and technical guitar virtuosity displayed on Unurnment’s debut are evident here, this six-track long-player mines completely different death metal territory with its doom-informed grotesquery. Vile Possession heaves, lumbers and occasionally explodes with a wretched fury. Though there’s a generally dour atmosphere to every track, Avila adds subtle guitar layers that offer a respite from the oppressive vibe. Closer “The Change” even features a melodic acoustic intro that leads into a sonic headfuck of a track laden with samples and Avila’s guitar histrionics.
Vile Possession was recorded and mixed by Avila at the Bludgeon Dungeon in Sacramento, CA from summer 2020 to summer 2021, and will be available on CD, cassette and digitally. Preorders can be made here. Vinyl will be available this summer.
Avila had this to say about Abysmalist’s debut:
“Obsession is the theme that runs not only through Vile Possession but through everything Abysmalist does. Most of our songs are about some kind of mania, whether it be an obsession with a person, a compulsion to kill or an infatuation with misery.
I obsess over music. Writing, recording and putting a record together always takes me longer than it should. My bandmates would say I’m overthinking it, constantly changing things, tweaking riffs. I obsess over the details until working on the thing is torture. Maybe that anguish comes through in the bleak atmosphere of the music. Maybe it doesn’t. Either way, in the end this record literally became my Vile Possession.
That said, I’m incredibly proud of the record we made and I don’t think we could have done it in any less time. Some people can crank out a batch of songs, record them and get a record out in a few months. We prefer to take two years.”
4/15 Long Beach, CA at Supply & Demand with Succumb, Diabolic Oath & Dowrr
4/16 Sacramento, CA at The Colony with Extinguish, Earth Down & Doomsday
4/17 Cupertino, CA at The X Bar with Sepsis, Wrath of Gods & Iron Front