One of the fundamental types of computer content editors is a WYSIWYG editor, or, in plain english, “What You See Is What You Get”: in such an editor, the formation of the on-screen content closely resembles what a viewer without access to such an editor would see. The idea is that when a person looks at the editor, they should get a good idea of what to expect at first glance. One can also, however, easily apply the idea behind WYSIWYG – essentially, that what is presented to the audience is no more and no less than what one should expect – to music, especially with a genre as blunt in its presentation as brutal death metal.
Case in point: Abhorrent Deformity. It’s pretty obvious to anyone what a band with this name is going to sound like, and they certainly follow through on any expectations. If a listener is looking for an album with slams, riffs, a combination of bellowed and gutteral vocals, and breakneck pacing, Entity of Malevolence will certainly scratch that itch. That being said, there’s no reason to expect this band to break the brutal death metal mold (they’re not Wormed, after all), and anybody who already has a formed opinion on the subgenre’s sound isn’t going to find themselves persuaded to change it based on this release.
Everything on Entity falls perfectly in line with expectations, and what else would you expect from a record with track names like “Enshrined In Putrid Decay” and “Buried Beneath Human Remains” besides a heaping platter of skull-smashing brutality? The plentiful riffs are chunky and hack away at the listener’s ears like a series of axe blows, the blast beats are an omnipresent, driving force, and the bass slithers beneath it all, adding a sense of texture and fluidity to the ever-forceful assault of the guitars. The vocals are a mix of mid-range screams and guttural, evil growls, with the occasional high-pitched wail punching through with scalpel-like precision. The mix, while nothing special, is entirely serviceable; the drums sound properly punchy, and although the guitars are a little more muted than usual, it doesn’t do the album much of a disservice, more just changing the focus onto the rhythm section – the drums in particular – in a way that adds a fair amount of weight to the album, which is something lacking in a fair percentage brutal death metal albums.
No one song stands out more than any other. Of course, listeners could have tracks they appreciate more than others, but the songwriting stays at a consistent level of quality across the entire album, which is both a blessing and a curse. On the one hand, it’s easy to listen to this album all the way through, given both the moderately short length (clocking in at just over a half hour) and its consistency, but on the other hand, it’s just as easy to tune out any point over Entity’s runtime.
In the end, the word that gets to the core of Entity of Malevolence’s existence is “serviceable.” Although it’s certainly not egregiously bad, there’s little about Abhorrent Deformity’s formula on their debut that helps to set them apart from the pack, either by novelty or quality of songwriting. Will it scratch a brutal death metal itch? Yeah, sure. But there’s plenty of albums that can ease one’s need for this sort of music just as well, and provide a much better experience throughout.