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The Abodox - The Abodox

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Artist: The Abodox

Album: The Abodox

Label: Cymbeline

Review date: Apr. 29, 2002

The first thing you may notice about the Abodox’s self-titled debut (depending on which version you’ve got) is the packaging. One of the two versions features what appears to be a severed human ear floating about in a plastic baggie full of blood. If you manage to keep down the bile long enough to put the disc into your stereo, you will be greeted with an aural punch in the gut, swift and sure enough to make you toss cookie. The music found within is angry, harrowing and caustic, but by god it fucking rocks.

The Abodox are a mysterious band. Their album contains no track listing and the band photo features the threesome only from their knees to their necks. They are a three-piece from the Pacific Northwest that play jarring, rocking metal with drums, bass and guitar. Their record is the first for upstart label Cymbeline Records, headed by Glyn Jewell, former music director at Washington State University’s college radio station. The band is known for their concussive live shows, which often feature humans wrapped in red cellophane writhing about onstage (Whom the band affectionately call their “skinned monkeys”).

The album begins with the dissonance and cacophony played out by a lone guitar, which acquires an eerie tint with the addition of Scooby-Doo synth swells and a triangle’s “ting.” Soon, the drums mount and the guitars arpeggiate, building and piling until the band works in unison, pounding with surgical precision and assault. As a three-piece, they effectively use the silence between notes, with methods such as staccato bursts of noise and stop-start accuracy. At this point, the tension floods from the speakers, and the band bursts out into full rock n’ roll violence. Guitars twitch and belch with agitated fury, fuzz bass rumbles and careens drunkenly, and drums grind and batter. The vocals on the album are unreal. The guttural, demonic rumble of Nathan Smurthwaite is complimented by the deranged yowl of bassist Dorando Hodous, the latter sounding every bit the gargoylic henchman to the satanic overlord of the former. At times, it is difficult to believe how they manage to sustain their screams for so long. Drummer Ben Kennedy is the propulsive force behind the band, and his rhythms and fills are note-perfect.

The Abodox create pure blasts of white noise. Their riffs are like corybantic missiles aimed at the hearts of bands that make shitty, callow metal. The album’s close is a twenty-two minute track that is the nightmarish auditory equivalent of the inferno’s inner circle, replete with anguished and tortured cries. This music is equally suited for times of wrathful seething, for convincing your parents you are acutely demented, or for kicking back a few beers with some close friends.

By Andy Cockle

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