Oh, do we have some gory, bloody treats for you today! Are you familiar with Avulsed’s murderous works? No? Well then, step right into this friendly looking abattoir and let me show you why Avulsed are so highly regarded in the death metal underground…
Let’s get the basics out of the way first. Avulsed are a death metal band from Spain. They formed way back in 1991, and ever since then they have been unleashing the type of gore-ridden death metal that’s so damn good you should be begging the band to let you sniff their rotten entrails.
Avulsed specialise in brutal gore metal. It’s song-oriented, frequently incredibly catchy, and full of head-smashing death metal delights. Through their many and various releases they have amassed a considerable and envious discography, which includes everything from their main albums, small EPs, and live releases, to compilations and other projects, (cover versions, re-recordings of older material, etc). Across all of this they have written many classic songs, and today, over a 45-minute playlist, I aim to introduce you to a good cross-section of their material.
So sit back, don your blood-resistant overalls, and enjoy…
1. “Amidst the Macabre” – from the album Deathgeneration
We’ll start you off gently, with a short introduction track. Originally off their 1999 album Stabwound Orgasm, (more on this later – it’s my favourite Avulsed album), I’ve chosen this version from 2016’s Deathgeneration. This is an ambitious and huge release put together to celebrate the band’s 25th anniversary – a selection of Avulsed’s greatest hits re-recorded and given extra life by featuring guest vocalists from a veritable who’s who of death metal legends. As an introduction to Avulsed, this album is a great place to start.
“Amidst the Macabre” is an instrumental track and is less than two minutes of melodic metal. It takes the listener on an expressive journey into foreign lands, and leaves them entirely unprepared for…
2. “Wormeaten” – from the album Yearning for the Grotesque
…”Wormeaten”, the blisteringly brutal opening cut from the band’s superb 2003 album Yearning for the Grotesque. If you want an album chock-full of classic Avulsed tracks, this album is as good a place as any to dive into the fray.
With withering blast beats and brutal riffs, “Wormeaten” is an uncompromising and merciless way to get to know Avulsed after the relatively relaxed “Amidst the Macabre.” This song has always been a firm favourite of mine. Sure, there are other songs that are arguably better and catchier on this album – the very next track “Devourer of the Dead,” for example, is probably one of the band’s best songs – but there’s something about the sheer brutality and rhythmic barbarity of “Wormeaten” that you just can’t top.
3. “Anthro-Pet-Phagus” – from the album Stabwound Orgasm
As mentioned earlier, Stabwound Orgasm is my favourite Avulsed album. It’s only their second, and saw the light of day in 1999; Avulsed perfected their catchy, hook-filled brand of death metal early on. Almost every single song on this album is a classic, and “Anthro-Pet-Phagus” is one of the best.
Just a single listen should be enough for the chorus to stick in your head like a clawhammer. Even when I haven’t listened to this song for a while it randomly pops into my brain. It’s not the only one either, as I find Avulsed songs are very much like that; moreish and infectious, despite how brutal and uncompromising they probably are to many outsiders. With some first-rate macabre melodies and some sterling riffs, this song is one of their best.
4. “Sick Sick Sex” – from the album Yearning for the Grotesque
For the next track I’ve decided to return to Yearning for the Grotesque. This is another classic Avulsed song, and actually one of their shortest.
I haven’t yet mentioned the band’s monstrous singer; Dave Rotten’s cavernous, inhuman growls are huge enough to sound like they’re going to swallow you whole, and his performance on “Sick Sick Sex” is a great place to point out the interplay between his deathgrowls and what the music is doing. His voice is frequently perfectly placed amongst the carnage of the riffs, providing that optimal blend of brutality and catchiness that Avulsed are so famed for.
5. “Killing After Death” – from the album Nullo (the Pleasure of Self-Mutilation)
Like all of their albums, Nullo (the Pleasure of Self-Mutilation) contains a plethora of quality material that once again saw the band operating with filthy surgical knives and rusty bonesaws. Their operatees may not have been very happy about this, but those of us in the audience certainly were.
This track is another great mix of aggression and melody. With powerful drums leading the way, and scathing sandpaper guitars, it then launches into some extremely satisfying riffs and another highly memorable chorus. Repeat after me at the top of your lungs – “KILLING AFTER DEAATHHHH”!!!
6. “Red Viscera Serology” – from the EP Altar of Disembowelment
This cut is taken from the band’s most recent EP. Containing four originals and a cover song (Black Sabbath’s “Neon Knights”), this is a great little collection of tracks to satiate any bloodthirsty death metal fan in between main album meals. Oh, and it was mastered by Dan Swanö, with lyrics written by Rogga Johansson, so there’s that too.
“Red Viscera Serology” has somewhat of an old-school, Swedish death metal feel to it. It’s a mix of mid-paced explorations of sinister moods and crushing riffs, combined with faster assaults that are more reminiscent of the classic Avulsed sound. As one of their most recent songs, it shows that Avulsed are still going strong; it was chosen to be re-recorded on Deathgeneration, bolstered by the considerable vocal presence of John McEntree from Incantation.
7. “Sweet Lobotomy” – from the album Eminence in Putrescence
Eminence in Putrescence is the band’s debut album. Released in 1996, it was Avulsed’s first significant foray into the killing fields, and has held up well to this day. You can see the beginnings of the band that they would become on their follow up album Stabwound Orgasm. Although Eminence in Putrescence is not as finely realised or delivered as many of their other releases, it still stands strong on its own merits today. Yep, there are a lot of good songs on this album – “Goreality” and “Bodily Ransack” are two choice cuts.
“Sweet Lobotomy” has a wealth of good riffs and a very satisfying underground feeling to it. The rolling vocal patterns that Dave Rotten uses so well are already well-developed here, and the guitars are full of quality licks. There’s even an atmospheric, keyboard enhanced section in the middle, which was an early indicator of some of the more interesting and atypical avenues that Avulsed were to explore on some of their future material now and again, such as on personal favourite “Hoax Therapy” from 2005’s Gorespattered Suicide. This is one of the many, many things I like about Avulsed; they may be death metal through and through, but they aren’t afraid to include other elements and different ideas in their music when they see fit.
8. “Nullo (the Pleasure of Self-Mutilation)” – from the album Nullo (the Pleasure of Self-Mutilation)
Next up on the playlist is the title track from the band’s 2009 album, which we encountered earlier with “Killing After Death.” The quality of this, alongside the album’s closer “She’s Hot Tonight (in My Oven),” means I’m hard pressed to say which is my actual favourite off this release.
This track is crunchy, hard, and direct, and loaded with explosive riffs and gut-punching vocals. I particularly like the melodic edge to the guitars in the chorus, and basically the entire song is a high-energy death metal feast.
9. “Revenant Wars” – from the EP Revenant Wars
This is the title track from a short EP that Avulsed released in 2013. Revenant Wars was a 7″ vinyl release that only contained two songs; this, and a cover of Nihilist’s “Sentenced to Death.” As with all of Avulsed’s releases, this is worth getting.
In keeping with the theme of the EP, this is old-school death metal. Recorded around the same time as Altar of Disembowelment, this was also mastered by Dan Swanö, with lyrics written by Rogga Johansson. Additionally the artwork was created by Mark Riddick; this is classic death metal to its very bones.
10. “Blessed by Gore” – from the album Stabwound Orgasm
This is the last of the ‘proper’ Avulsed songs on this playlist, so it’s time to go out on a high before the final two inclusions. For this, we return once more to Stabwound Orgasm.
Yes indeedy, Avulsed know how to write a good tune, as hopefully this playlist has demonstrated so far. “Blessed by Gore” is a pretty damn perfect death metal song in many ways. Riffs, vocals, chorus, leads, solos…everything hits the mark with extreme force and with brutal effect. “Blessed by Gore” is just one of the many highlights of Avulsed’s career. This particular one may have occurred early on, but the band are still going strong today and continue to slay with the best of them.
11. “Infernal Haemorrhoids” – from the album Gorespattered Suicide
Gorespattered Suicide was released in 2005. Coming a mere two years after Yearning for the Grotesque it’s the quickest turnaround for any Avulsed album. Mixed and mastered by Erik Rutan, this album continues to find Avulsed producing music that’s brutally melodic and psychotically gripping. As always, it contains a multitude of ripping tracks, but due to playlist length limitations and to showcase a slightly different side to the band, I’ve chosen the 15-second “Infernal Haemorrhoids” as the penultimate track in this collection.
This is Avulsed gone deathgrind, and they pull it off flawlessly. Ultra aggressive and completely devastating, even in such a short and brutal track the band still manage to inject some of their trademark rhythm. Love it.
12. “Zombie Ritual” – from the album Ritual Zombi
Across the decades of their career Avulsed have produced many, many cover songs, so I feel it would be remiss of me to not include at least one. I’ve decided to end this playlist with their cover of Death’s “Zombie Ritual” off 2013’s Ritual Zombi, which is the band’s most recent full-length, (not counting Deathgeneration). This entire album is somewhat of a love letter to death metal in general, with many and various references to a wide range of bands and tropes that the death metal genre has embraced over the years.
As cover songs go it’s hard to fault this. The band’s obvious love of the source material is apparent, and the song is executed with the maniacal fanaticism you’d expect. It’s a great way to end a great playlist.