Unconventional weirdness and terror always go over really well on this site, when done right, and really, don’t we have enough death metal bands that don’t strike a bit of panic or fright in your system? We’re on overload, and trust me, from the backlog of dull, weapon-less death metal marring my inbox, running into something truly horrific is a great gift.
It’s even better when you get a double dose of madness from the same band, which is what we have with Abyssal, a demonically warped death metal band out of the UK that is shrouded with mystery and encrusted in soil-rich doom. One could point to bands such as Portal or Paroxsihzem for like-minded comparisons, but those aren’t 100 percent accurate. Finding an online presence for this band isn’t all that easy, that is if you’re seeking pertinent information such as who is in the band and matters such as those, but as we’ve said countless times, a band removing itself from easy access and public consumption of all of their personal data is refreshing and, in a way, a manner of making them more frightening. They’re faceless.
As noted, there is extra Abyssal chaos for you to consume, as we have two records from the band to discuss. One of the records came out in 2012 originally, but is being re-released via Hellthrasher Productions to get their sickness a little deeper into the world. The other, their latest platter, also was put out by the band but eventually picked up by Profound Lore, who are putting the album into circulation via limited release. Both records are more than worth the money, and while it might feel like a bit of an overdose on a band you might not yet be familiar with, it really won’t feel that way. Each record, while having similar fucked up philosophies, show different approaches by the band and stand apart from each other sonically.
Hellthrasher is offering up the band’s debut “Denouement” on CD/LP, and it is the more melodic record of the two. It’s not over the top or anything, and you won’t confuse it with power metal, but there certainly are shades of color lighter than absolute death and doom. At six tracks and 50 minutes long, it is an involved listen that requires your attention to detail and willingness to go on their macabre trip, but if you like death metal nasty and sooty, but also with a sense of morose adventure, you should like this album just fine.
Most of the songs on “Denouement” are in the 8-11-minute range, and only one is shorter than five minutes. Abyssal make expert use of that time and put together a captivating, colorful album that rips open with “The Moss Upon Our Knees” that’s packed with murky, urgent guitars, damaged melodies, odd-colored corners, and a slope that lets you slide right into “Celestial Dictatorship.” That song is full of blasts, mangled violence, strange pockets of dissonant noise, and piercing shrieks that makes the closing stretch of hymnal chants all that more unsettling and bizarre. “Deus Vault” is chunky and thrashy, with mean and infernal growls, some progressive moments (not in the dorky way, of course) and penetrating noise; “Detritivore” throws a curveball at one point with a melody line that’s damn near rock and roll-based, but it’s surrounded by unholy chaos and gurgly growls. “When Paradigms Supplant Gods” begins with angelic drone but takes trips into post-metal gazing, bizarre, eerie guitar experimentation, and a strangely catchy finish, while 11:17-long closer “Swansong of a Dying Race” lives up to its name, with funeral-ready keys, slurry guitar work, some aggressive mashing, and finally a folk-like, woodsy conclusion that shows yet another side to the band.
Profound Lore is handling the small run of the band’s latest record “Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius,” a title that basically means “kill them all and let God sort it out.” That’s more the Americanized version of the saying, but you’ll definitely get the sense of total extermination and stride toward Armageddon the music seems to hint toward. It’s also the heavier, more suffocating of the two records, and the melody that reared its head on “Denouement” is snuffed out and suffocated entirely. It’s pure death through and through with no chance of catching a last gasp. You’ll be burnt to a crisp.
There are 11 tracks on “Novit enim” but that’s a little misleading since there are three interludes and a few shorter songs, namely Portal-esque “The Headless Serpent” and warped, scornful “A Sheath of Deceit.” “The Tongue of the Demagogue” is the first full track on the record, and it’s a crusher, with dizzying demolition and utterly devastating vocals, setting the scene for the hell ahead of you. “Under the Wretched Sun of Hattin” has the nausea-inducing fury of their debut album, but with an extra turn toward intensity and terror. “A Malthusian Epoch” has a bizarre intro that melts into molten, deformed rivers of noise that flow toward a hellish, storming final few minutes. “As Paupers Safeguard Magnates” practically defies logic that death metal this charnel and scarring is permitted to exist, and the deep, menacing growls remind you that you’re neck-deep in danger. “Created Sick; Commanded to Be Well” is a 10-minute instrumental that forces you on a gut-squishing ride upside down, forcing your chin to bang off rocks and trees as it immerses you in ambient fog and doom ugliness; and punishing closer “The Last King” finishes you off just right, with fucked-up noise and guitars and furious growls that rip the curtains down and light them on fire.
This is a lot of material to handle from one band, and neither record is an easy listen if you don’t have a taste for challenging, difficult music. These are two slabs of quality, true death metal that could permanently damage your psyche, and might even renew your faith in extreme music that someone out there still gets it. Abyssal are a hellish bright spot in a bloated world, and their campaign should only grow more painful from here.
For more on the band, go here: http://abyssal-home.bandcamp.com/
To buy “Denouement,” go here: http://hellthrasher.com/shop/
To buy “Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius,” go here: http://www.profoundlorerecords.com/products-page/
For more on Hellthrasher, go here: http://www.hellthrasher.com
For more on Profound Lore, go here: http://www.profoundlorerecords.com/