Abomination In The House Of God

Civil Carnage

Lost In The Fog Records, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


As much as I loved bands like Napalm Death, the "grindcore" phase of heavy metal was one that I was glad to see pass quickly. It wasn't that the music was bad, it was that the field became so saturated that you couldn't turn around without bumping into a group where the vocals were growled or bellowed to the point of being incomprehensible.

If only Canada's Civil Carnage had learned that lesson sooner - better yet, had they learned to do simple things like "mic" the snare drum the right way, their latest album Abomination In The House Of God wouldn't have been the nightmare that it is. With one key exception, which we'll talk about in due time, this is an album that has "been there, done that" written all over it, and is difficult to get through without falling asleep.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Like most death/grindcore bands, you've got your rhythm section of bass (Chris MacInnis), guitars (Pat Storer, who also plays keyboards) and drums (Caley Zawadzki), all of which make it sound like the band is being electrocuted, the beats come that fast. Add to this one scoop of "RRROOOAAARRR!!!"-style vocals (Keith Connel), as well as no lyric sheet that could have actually helped get you through the album, and - presto! - you have a grindcore band.

Whoever decided that the sound of Zawadzki's drums should be hung by their manhood; the snare drum is so weak that it sounds like the microphone was in the next room while Zawadski was pounding away. The resulting sound for most of the album - especially on the opening track "Civil Carnage" - is disgustingly bad. Drums - especially in this kind of metal - should have a snap and crispness to it, not a sound like someone's dog farted on the snare head.

And I fully understand that the heart of grindcore are vocals which you couldn't decipher with the Rosetta Stone, but Connel seems to get a little too serious into the game; often, it sounds like all he's doing is clearing his throat into the microphone. The exceptions come when he has an expletive to shout out; those come across clearly. C'mon, even Lee Dorian had a few phrases one could understand when he fronted Napalm Death.

So with all this negative talk about Abomination In The House Of God, how can I say there's a bright spot? Well, it comes at the end of the album, on the track "12 Beer and An STD", which features a hip-hop guest vocal courtesy of Good In Theory's Jeremy Hull. My first impression was, this is what grindcore would sound like with Zack De La Rocha of Rage Against The Machine doing vocals. The result is the one time I found myself smiling about this album, but it was too little, too late.

Abomination In The House Of God is an album from a group that seems to be stuck in the early '90s. Sorry, gang, but the grindcore phase of metal is over. This album is pure evil - and I'm not talking blasphemous.

Rating: D-

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 1999 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Lost In The Fog Records, and is used for informational purposes only.