Thetan – Abysmal Review

Oh, what is this unholy noise?  Could it be

I know, I know… The obvious jokes aside, it’s the wrong religion, anyway. It should be this guy, instead:

He’s funny enough without the face tattoo.

To very loosely condense one of the central tenets of Scientology, a Thetan is a human spirit or soul, sort of. That is, if a soul is a millennia-old being-that-isn’t-a-being that used to have godlike powers and got bored with that and decided to become a person, but not really a person, and…  Well, that’s enough of that. It’s a soul. Let’s go from there.

And if a Thetan is a soul, then the soul of this Thetan is the godlike power of pure aggression stuck in the MEST world shell of hardcore-slash-powerviolence. It’s loud, ugly, raw, dark, and intensely pissed-off, a violent abrasive catharsis for a Nashville-based duo that can certainly (bass-and-)drum up one hell of a racket.

Release date: February 1, 2019. Label: Anti-Corporate.
The second full-length in Thetan’s 8-year existence (coming an even 4 years after their first), Abysmal embodies both sides of that powerviolence equation. In typical fashion for the style, riffs are introduced, established, and quickly discarded, songs compacted into one-minute bursts of fury. At first blush, Abysmal is the expected blur, but repeated listens establish the album as more than just a blistering blastfest. The stuttering drive of “Punching Bag,” a brief but killer swinging bassline in “Weakling,” the swagger of “Welcome To Your Stupid Life”: All of that balances nicely against Abysmal’s multiple forty-second explosions of rage. Amidst Chad’s blastbeats and relentless pummeling, Dan’s distorted bass provides both a stout low-end and enough mid-range bite to cover the absence of a guitarist. (The occasional feedback squall also crops up, adding another texture to the single-pitched-instrument attack.)

This type of roughshod and relentless hardcore tickles my grind fancy, so I’ll admit that I’m partial to this particular noise. If emotive, noisy, and vicious hardcore floats your boat, then Thetan is well within your wheelhouse. And if not… well, my friend, maybe you’re lacking a soul… or something.

“This is how occultists say, ‘Hey, we’re Satanists, and we’re partying’,” declares the opening of “Sell You A Dream,” the soundbite snagged from a ridiculous early 90s police training video. So turn it up and let’s party — just don’t tell the old lady up top.

Posted by Andrew Edmunds

Last Rites Co-Owner; Senior Editor; born in the cemetery, under the sign of the MOOOOOOON...

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