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While relatively unsung compared to heavyweights such as Napalm Death and Carcass, Repulsion nevertheless had a big impact in shaping the then-young grindcore genre during its brief heyday in the late '80s. As illustrated by a sole full-length release, the 1986 recording Horrified, the band's sound fell somewhere between the earlier proto-grind of Boston hardcore band Siege and the more fully developed grindcore of the early Napalm Death recordings, at least as far as the evolutionary ladder goes. They were also one of the first metal bands to use horror- and gore-oriented lyrics, thereby helping start a tradition that soon would descend to deeper and deeper depths of depravity as successive bands strove harder and harder to outdo one another. Despite sounding a bit dated due to the primitive production and the relative simplicity of their songs (surely no one back then could have imagined the mutations grindcore would undergo during the next two decades), Repulsion's music has still held up fairly well over the years, having been reissued several times and championed by bands and artists including Carcass, John Zorn, Napalm Death, Exhumed, Cattle Decapitation, Scott Hull of Pig Destroyer and Agoraphobic Nosebleed, and numerous others.
Repulsion got its start in Flint, MI, in 1985, originally going by the name Genocide. The lineup consisted of vocalist/bassist Scott Carlson, guitarist Aaron Freeman, guitarist Matt Olivo, and drummer Dave Grave. In January 1986, they recorded their first demo, entitled Stench of Burning Death. Soon after, the band changed its name to Repulsion, as Genocide had already been taken. That same year, Carlson and Olivo took off for Florida to join Chuck Schuldiner and his band Death, causing Repulsion to briefly be put on hold. Things didn't work out with Death, though, and the two moved back to Michigan, where they got back together with the other Repulsion members and recorded the Slaughter of the Innocent LP. However, the album did not actually get released until 1989, finally coming out on Necrosis -- the label of Carcass members Bill Steer and Jeff Walker -- under the name Horrified. In the meantime, Olivo had left the band to join the Army and the rest of the band decided to call it quits. In 1991, Repulsion got back together (except for Olivo, who was still in the Army) and recorded another demo, Rebirth, some of which eventually saw the light of day on the "Excruciation" 7" released on the then-young Relapse label. Spurred by the success of this 7", Relapse reissued Horrified in 1992. The next year, Olivo got out of the Army and rejoined the band, which was still playing shows here and there. They finally decided to call it quits later that year, this time for good. Nearly a decade later, in 2002, Horrified was reissued again by Relapse, this time as part of a double CD with a whole disc of bonus tracks to go along with it. ~ William York
- Flint, MI
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