Seminal Vampires and Maggot Men

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For its first proper album (1995's Urine Junkies was just a collection of early demos), San Francisco's Abscess lightened the tone a bit, giving the album a considerably less disgusting title and cover photo and making the group's always-present black humor far more obvious and pronounced. The results make songs like the two-part opener "Naked Freak Show" and "Zombie Ward" sound rather like a death metal version of the Cramps. Elsewhere, self-explanatory songs like "I Don't Give a Fuck" and "Burn, Die and Fucking Fry," not to mention the thrashing "Patient Zero" (which borrows terminology from Randy Shilts' groundbreaking AIDS history And the Band Played On), highlight the band's hardcore punk roots. In slightly different arrangements, many of these songs could have appeared on any late-era Black Flag album. Overall, tempos are speedier here, and the thundering low registers of proper death metal are largely avoided, giving Seminal Vampires and Maggot Men a more bracing, direct sound that Urine Junkies largely lacked.

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