Great horror, filth, madness, chaos, death, destruction, and doom are all things I want to pop into my head when I’m listening to death metal, and if it doesn’t, I generally walk away disappointed. Not that there can’t be exceptions to that rule, and most definitely there have been over time, but for the most part, I want those things from the music and I want to feel the world being darkened.
Having tons and tons of upcoming metal releases at my disposal, it isn’t easy picking the 4-5 albums to highlight each week, and it’s even tougher trying to find great death metal, simply because there is so much to consider. But now and again you put on something like “…Smouldering,” the first effort from German death merchants Abyssous, and you realize you don’t have to look much further to find something filthy and infernal enough to satisfy your darkest urges. Iron Bonehead Productions apparently felt the same way, taking the band’s 2012 demo and giving it proper vinyl treatment, along with two previously unreleased tracks for good measure. The result is 30 minutes of absolute horror, underground death metal at its fertile stage before it’s ready to fully engulf the earth in its glorious embers. Or, if that’s a little too elaborate a description for you, it’s heavy, brutal, and pulverizing, perfect fodder for helping you release negative feelings.
Abyssous only have been a band since 2011, which makes their debut being such a fine piece of work that much more impressive. Three people dot the lineup, that being bassist/vocalist Deathtrader (Heretic), guitarist Jonty Lava (also of Heretic), and drummer Assassor (formerly of Chornyj Woron). Together, the band creates metal that would make the pioneers of the genre proud, for they have a grasp on the bloody, ugly roots that made this sound what it is. They also add their own dark twists and turns, remaining suffocating, soot-covered, and uninviting to those who don’t understand their craft or what these black arts are about. Those people can remain at arm’s length while the rest of us enter the swarm of chaos, which will capture you immediately.
“Entering the Cave” is a fitting name for the opening track, an eerie ambient cut that does, in fact, make you feel like you’re getting ready to head down a long cavern into the bleak unknown. “Abominations” follows and gives a first real, poisonous dose of what this band’s all about. The drums crush your heart and soul, the guitar riffs are chunky and full of bone fragments, and the vocals are a low-level growl that sound menacing and fearsome. Ah, so that’s what you’ll meet inside the cave. “Burial Sea” starts with guitars bubbling, then charging and galloping right for you with reckless ambition. The song has an old, early ’80s thrash feel, and the soloing that literally erupts from the pockets are deafening and razor sharp. Toward the end, murk settles in and everything gets cloudy, but then it explodes again and ends on quite the savage note. “Invocation” rips itself open at the start and force-feeds you its guts, with guitars chugging away and Deathtrader’s vocals sounding tortured and morbid.
“Black Pyramid” keeps the terror fires burning, with a flurry of guitar lines that could leave you dizzy and scorched, and crushing, charging melodies that continue to deliver the violence. Their bursts of speed on this song, and elsewhere on the album, have a firm grasp on classic death and thrash, and from someone who grew up in that sound’s heyday, it’s most welcome to hear this band nail that kind of delivery. “Profaning Intrusion of…” is another instrumental cut, itself quite spooky, but also a lead-in for “The Inverter,” a punchy, scathing, perverse dose of death built on whinnying guitars, out-of-control playing, and complete darkness. “Exanimation Rites,” a song I thought they misspelled at first, has a wonderfully sinister opening, and it’s packed with total madness, harsh, hellish growls, and metallic churning that draws a great deal of blood. Closer “Abscondence” is a weird, scary outro piece that feels like it was transmitted from deep space, where who knows what kind of creatures lurk, with our planet’s demise potentially in its plans. It’s an unassuming yet fitting end to this thrilling storybook of morbidity.
Abyssous was a great find for Iron Bonehead, who know a thing or two about plucking dark gems and thrusting them into the public conscious, and the band itself sounds like it’ll be a world beater if they continue along this hellacious path. “…Smouldering” burns and scrapes like it should, and it satisfies that need for death metal with a black heart and damned soul. I’ve made no secret I want more death metal just like that, so I’ll happily follow Abyssous along their destructive path.
For more on the band, go here: http://www.abyssous.de/
To buy the album, go here: http://ironboneheadproductions.bandcamp.com/merch
For more on the label, go here: http://www.ironbonehead.de/