#FOR FANS OF: Death/Black/Doom Metal, Mitochondrion, Impetuous Ritual
An emerging name in the recent Black Metal underground, the UK outfit bearing the name Abyssal is quickly growing in stature no thanks in part to albums like this one, one of the more impressive outings in the genre lately. Forging an obscure mixture of Death and Black Metal just at a pace more akin to Doom Metal, this sets up a rather curious mix since all three can be mixed together in small doses yet here they come together quite well as the main focus is on Blackened Death Metal. Dark passages, intense patterns and tremolo-picked rhythms flow freely throughout the album, and when mixed with the intense rhythm section full of relentless blastbeats, dramatic fills and a loud, thumping bass-line that adds a heaviness to the whole ordeal, this becomes an insanely chaotic framework to work with. At times utilizing more of a chugging riff-work that sounds right at homes with the more traditional Doom riffing that produces massive, churning patterns of dark, plodding paces with plenty of blasting drum-beats and furious riffing that all combine into a rather impressive and dark sound-scape. Other times, this seems content to offer up more straightforward pieces that meld a truer blackened Death Metal stamp on the proceedings, whipping whirlwind drumming and scorching, up-tempo riffing together for an extended run that offers plenty of enjoyment through the rather calculated mixture between the sprawling Doom chugs and incessant buzzing that helps make this release more atmospheric and dark than most traditional elements would ever offer. After a mere minute-long intro of discordant noise, proper first-song "The Tongue of the Demagogue" blasts through with intense drumming and vicious riffing that sets a high standard immediately against the sprawling pace, obscure instrumentation and unrelenting darkness that sweeps through the epic piece, setting the stage incredibly well for the onslaught to come. The more intense blasting of "Under the Wretched Sun of Hattin" gives more of a Death Metal feel before the churning Doom riffs come sprawling in to slow it down to a crawl before blasting back into action in the later half, effectively making this a big stand-out track as well. The wailing sounds of "Elegy of Ruin" lead right into the blasting fury of "The Headless Serpent," the best track here as the sudden change-over into the Doom riffing sets up a series of chaotic and memorable riffing that sets this one apart from the others here for its’ darkness and speed. "A Sheath of Deceit" comes close to matching the intensity and fury of the previous track and really stays up-tempo enough to work in some insane blasts and relentless leads following plenty of hellish, discordant riffing patterns which gives this two stand-out superb tracks in a row. That they’re the shorter tracks on this does offer up some pretty sharp clues about the band. One more pointless noise-collage interlude, "A Malthusian Epoch" begins sporting it’s Doom influences with some sprawling patterns and incessant buzzing riff-work before speeding into some tight, furious blasting that tries to lift the pace up but gets swallowed whole in the churning, heavy chugging that carries on throughout, leaving it a solid if unspectacular effort. Thankfully, "As Paupers Safeguard Magnates" brings about more energetic patterns and vicious riff-work even though it’s still in the league of featuring incredibly heavy, droning riffs, plodding Doom sections that actually border close to Sludge and a variety of organic, crushing tempo changes throughout the epic length, again being an album highlights. Ten-plus minute instrumental "Created Sick, Commanded to be Well" offers over-the-top progression, plenty of devastating drumming and a variety of riffing patterns from epically slow, droning marches to dry, atmospheric lulls to frantic buzzing to dynamic thrashing that gets a lot right but still ends up as not that enjoyable due to the extreme length. Finale "The Last King" returns to the darkened, blasting Doom with some frantic guitar rhythms and crushing patterns that keeps this a furious blast and sending it off on a high note. Really, all that really seems wrong with this darkened opus is the extreme lengths which can lead to places where it just drones on and on that can lead to boredom, but this is still a top-notch, quality release.