Abhomine is war metal in the sense of bands like Order From Chaos, Angelcorpse, and Rites Of Thy Degringolade. Greater angularity in song-writing, and more lateral and vertical activity, separate this strain of the style from the more popular names that take after the Blasphemy-grindcore blueprint. Techniques here are reassuringly rooted within the established metal lexicon; in fact, Abhomine cleaves “war metal” as signifier right down the middle; while this is suitably confrontational music, carrying the vague charge of elitism so beloved of this scene, it is also unabashedly metal in premise and development.
The other day I was reading the main piece inside the August issue of National Geographic; it was about CRISPR (Clustered Regularly Interspaced Short Palindromic Repeats), a cool, gene-editing technique that can be used to zone in on errant gene sequences, and cut them out to be replaced with something more desirable. The applications are numerous: neutralizing vectors carrying deadly pathogens like the Zika Virus, making pig organs more amenable for human transplants, preserving tree species ravaged by blight, even preempting congenital defects in the laboratory, CRISPR, the article says, will sooner than later come to hold a place in the forefront of all biosphere-related discourse.
I heard Abhomine immediately after Immolation‘s Unholy Cult, an album that I can still enjoy in spurts, but which, today, more than ever before, feels like a patchwork of attention-seeking odds and ends. Perhaps that is nothing but the weight of years and an ear more honed to what it expects from metal; Abhomine, on the other hand, is of a piece, in both concept and execution, sharing the impressionistic revulsion common to other Pete Helmkamp projects. The man freely admits his music as being an organ for his unorthodox views; whether that’s a case of putting the cart before the horse is up for debate, but there’s no denying the bleed-over effect that such conviction often has on an established musical pedigree. Call it hyperbole if you will, but Larvae Offal Swine feels like a refinement of the most violent aspects of this niche of extreme metal. When to hold back, when to let go, when to change tack; Abhomine possesses nuance, even in the uncompromising paradigm which it calls home.
Obviously, CRISPR faces all kinds of ethical concerns that are bound to be amplified to the nth degree by the indecision endemic to participatory democracy. Cold reason suggests that population and egalitarianism are the two problems at the crux of every significant human-global crisis extant today. Both are inextricably interlinked, too; who believes a genuine solution to the first can be found as long as the caucus of dissent and solipsism that characterizes democracy continues to exist? To even suggest that the right to have progeny should depend on social-economic-ecological criteria would invite derisory references to eugenics – and this without making allusions to selection for physical characteristics or intelligence – but to deny even this much is to spit in the face of common sense. What are we to do, keep breeding and sustaining dead weight, continue waging wars for resources and see the ice caps melt, while holding our collective breaths in the hope of an Extinction Level Event to reset us to zero?
I don’t know if there’s such a thing as a stupid gene that allows people to ignore the unignorable; nature selects traits for fitness and ousts those detrimental to a species’ chances of survival. A stupid gene would in all likelihood be a matrix of undesirable factors that today pass down the halls of time unfiltered and unhindered because of advances in medicine, supplemented by the protectionist manner in which human society has developed, particularly over the last two hundred years. Democracy’s big crime is that it allows this stupid gene, better off left as sedimentary detritus on the ocean floor of evolution, if not outright eradicated, to rise up to the surface and assume unmitigated power.