Repulsive Aggression – ‘Conflagration’ Album Review

repulsive aggression

With a name like Repulsive Aggression, if you haven’t figured out that this band err on the brutal then you’re simply not paying attention. Offering up a blistering ten tracks in forty-odd minutes, Repulsive Aggression are a revelation in how to construct gleaming, chrome-plated death metal destined to slaughter the opposition in their droves. True, Repulsive Aggression are doing little to reinvent the wheel, but when you have a patent on a wheel that works so well, who wants to start looking at alternatives? This is brutal, merciless death metal played utter conviction and phenomenal power by an outfit whose hearts are clearly seared black in the raging fires of hell’s own furious furnace.

Take opening track ‘Necrosis’. Furious guitars are welded to a percussive assault that is closer in feel to the march of the Wermacht than mere heavy metal, whilst the vocals are vomited out by a demon whose throat and lungs must surely be coated in asbestos. As grand an opening as you could hope for, it still pales in comparison to the furious groove of ‘plaguebringer’, the sort of track that in a perfect world would be purchased by metal fans the world over and sent spiralling into the charts to demonstrate just how good first rate death metal can be. Melody is, unsurprisingly, in short supply, although the band inject enough into the songs via solos to keep the whole thing on the right side of memorable, and, thanks to the speed and efficiency with which the music is dispatched, the tracks pass in the blink of an eye, each subsequent riff more exciting and pummelling than the last. ‘Breaking wheel’, is, therefore as tortuous, as satisfyingly brutal as any modern metal fan could wish – like the blank-eyed interrogator applying the pressure scientifically with not an ounce of compassion or remorse, so Repulsive Aggression ply their trade with a pin-point accuracy and whole-hearted lack of compassion, their only motivation the slow breaking of the listener. ‘Sub human destruction’ takes on a Bolt Thrower-esque momentum, the surging guitars pulled back by the languid, sludgy percussion, the result being that listening to it is rather like being caught up in a slow-motion cyclone, the guitars churning around you only to be unleashed and re-tethered at random intervals, merely adding to the feelings of disorientation.

A title such as ‘predator’ seems to sum up the music of Repulsive Aggression rather well with its connotations of prey being stalked, and, indeed, the music has a lighter touch when it comes to guitars, the nimble riff a striking contrast to the bass-laden brutality of the previous tracks. Similarities to recent Soulfly output abound, with the early riff giving way to a furious assault that is pure Max and just as catchy. On the next track the band even cleverly name the song after themselves – a bold move that only pays off if you have material to match, which, of course, they do. The song is not only a brilliantly constructed slice of primal rage, but also a brilliant summation of the band’s strengths, honed, polished and delivered in one three minute toxic blast. Similarly ‘reborn through annihilation’ stuns the listener with its multiple riffs, twist-on-a-dime dynamics and oppressive weight. It is the latter quality that is best personified in the fluid aggression of ‘leave her to rot’, a doom-laden assault that homes in on the listeners primal instincts with its dimly lit solos just visible in the murk. ‘Spawn’ sees the band, seemingly aware of their proximity to the end of the album, racing towards the finish via a set of crushing grooves that incorporate Fear Factory’s mechanistic punch to crushing effect, only to give way to an even heavier grind that truly leaves the listener scraping themselves up from the floor.  The album ends upon the title track, a spit and sweat drenched finale that lives up to the spirit of its name, the band’s palpable fury made reality through a series of guitar-driven shockwaves that, once and for all, claw away any resistance the listener foolishly had left.

What can you say about Repulsive Aggression that has not already been noted above? The songs here are all powerful and well executed. The production job is first rate, with each instrument rendered with glorious clarity and the overall impact of the album could hardly be bettered. There is nothing particularly new here, but Repulsive Aggression’s single-minded dedication is enough to put this release in the upper echelons of death metal’s over-crowded ranks and such a dizzying assault will surely win the band new fans. A gleaming, vital assault upon the senses, ‘conflagration’ is surely worthy of its title, and extreme metal fans everywhere should flock to the band’s banner.

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