In 1999 a bunch of young Dublin death metal maniacs travelled to Tico Tico Studio in Finland to record their debut album: an album that remains hard to match for its ferocity and lunacy fifteen years on.
The band was Abaddon Incarnate – and the album was ‘The Last Supper’.
Andrew Cunningham knew that meant it was time to take it out from the vaults!
Amazingly, The Last Supper is fifteen years old, and every single thing about it remains untouchable, at least in Ireland.
Its ruthless speed and aggression, the over the top occult and Satanic lyrics, the sense of absolute intolerance and lack of political correctness, even the ripping music that lies buried beneath the wall of noise and distortion.
The drums hit like atomic bombs, riffs run riot over the top while uncontrolled lead solos scream with all the hatred and anguish of Hell’s open gates.
The vocals are some of the most ravenous captured on tape, and that is even taking into account the band’s savage grind orientated follow up, ‘Nadir’.
Pinnacle Of Bedlam
For me, at least, ‘The Last Supper’ is the band’s pinnacle. It has an aura. Maybe there’s a bit of nostalgia colouring my view but when I think back and remember the sense of achievement once the chaos finally clicked with me, it still brings a smile to my face.
That moment when the penny dropped and the veils of obscuring noise were swept aside to reveal the brilliance of the crazy songwriting at the album’s heart.
The album is littered with classic tunes wrapped in some of the most evocative song titles such as ‘Nihilist’, ‘I Hate’, ‘Temple of Rancid Filth’ and ‘The Sharing of Thoughts with the Dead’.
Even the naughty and knuckle-dragging subject matter of ‘Vermithrax’ can’t stop it from being one of the catchiest and most evilly vicious death metal songs written on this island. Or any other, for that matter.
The lyrics are warped and absolutely brimming with hate. Hate for apparently everyone and everything across every plane of existence.
Artwork: Oddball Charm
Even the weirdly trippy, colourful artwork holds an oddball charm that, while being somewhat tacky looking, ushers the album into new realms of weirdness.
No band in Ireland has truly managed to capture such a sense of evil since then, and I don’t mean the sound of some kind of harnessed and directed evil but rather an all-out explosion of overwhelming, indiscriminate perniciousness.
This album sounds like it wants to kill you, drag your soul to Hell and personally hurl it into the gaping fiery maw.
In Vino, Veritas
The legend behind its creation is also worth mentioning. By all accounts the lads spent a few days painstakingly tracking everything and working their asses off to capture the essence of the violent monster they pictured in their heads.
They then realised it sounded like timid, overproduced shite, scrapped it, got fucked out of their minds on alcohol and proceeded to record the entire album live in one supremely drunken take.
And it shows. Such a rabid sound cannot be achieved by over attention to detail, instead the chaos of the songs seems ramped up and taken as close to the edge of sanity as is humanly possible by the lads’ manglation.
I think that without Olan Parkinson’s legendary (in my gaff) drumming performance the whole thing might have been a total write off.
But again, I must come back to the song-writing. Clearly the five years of demoing, gigging and jamming made these boys a tight unit. They had, behind all of the noisy madness, a phenomenal ear for a tune.
And just think, it album came out at a glorious time for the local scene. 1999 and 2000 also gave us Arcane Sun’s fabulous, and equally overlooked, flawed masterpiece in their self-titled debut, Mourning Beloveth’s incredible doom death debut album, ‘Dust’, and Primordial’s game-changing (at the time) ‘Spirit the Earth Aflame’. It was a mini golden age for us.
Floundering In Obscurity
So why does this great album flounder in obscurity?
It could be down to the untamed, ear-drum busting production or its unorthodox artwork, maybe death metal was just not that cool in 1999 or perhaps it was the age old excuse of the band being stuck in Ireland, far away from the action on the mainland.
Whatever its status and whether the wider world acknowledges the excellence of this mind fuck of an album or not, the least we can do here is take this time to visit or revisit, depending on your age, this monstrous and fantastic death metal classic.
Crack open beer, turn stereo up to the max and blast this beauty in all its hateful, brutal and evil glory. It might just begin to make sense.
– Andrew Cunningham ::: 19/12/14