Review by Michael on February 1, 2023.
On their fifth album Ultimate Abomination Dutch deathers Bodyfarm have found a new home with the Norwegian label Edged Circle Productions. Also in terms of line-up something has changed - the old drummer Quint Meerbeek has been replaced by David Schermann and singer Ralph de Boer has snatched the bass from Alex Seegers' hand and given him a guitar instead, so that Bodyfarm come up with two guitars on the new album. Despite the double burden, vocalist Ralph de Boer does a fantastic job, not inferior to his performance on the last Dead Head album "Slave Driver". The whole thing has breathed fresh air into the band, because they sound more aggressive, varied and innovative than on the previous album Dreadlord.
On the one hand, this may be due to the very powerful and well-balanced production, but on the other hand, the songwriting has also become much more imaginative. Next to the usual death metal breakers you can find (which do not really offer something new) some mighty grooves and also some other surprises. You can find lots of technically very adept and sophisticated guitar solos in many of the songs (two examples are 'Symbolical Warfare' or 'Soul Damnation'), but the quartet also knows how to convince with fat grooving, almost death'n'roll-like songs. 'The Wicked Red' could also be found on Entombed's milestone "Wolverine Blues". The beginning alone reminds quite clearly of the opener on their 93 album. Bodyfarm however, is much more aggressive and more old-school-focused than the Swedes, so that you can't really speak of a death'n'roll album.
But, not only groovy songs provide a surprise on Ultimate Abomination. There is also song "The Swamp" which, as the title suggests, becomes a pretty tough affair. Beginning with a cello (at least I hope I heard that correctly), the song develops into a monolithic, crawling song that, despite its ponderousness, smashes down everything that gets in its way. A mudslide, so to speak. There is 'Sacrilege Of The Fallen' which is probably the most atmospheric song on the album bringing up a certain Viking/Bathory mood through the galloping riffs, but not straying way from repeatedly setting brutal death metal accents.
If you put the last albums of the three Dutch scene greats Asphyx, Graceless and Bodyfarm in relation, then Bodyfarm wins, at least in my opinion, because they can show the most interesting and most gripping songwriting and the album does not get boring even after the 20th listen. The year 2023 is already absolutely great as far as death metal releases are concerned and I'm sure great things will follow, at least as far as releases from Edged Circle Productions are concerned!
Rating: 9 out of 10 Abominations785