It’s clear from the start that the brains behind this album is a very talented individual as the musicianship and songwriting is at an advanced level.
The drums are the only instrument he doesn’t perform. Rather than going the easy route and opting for a drum machine however, instead he has enlisted the considerable talents of Kevin Talley, (Suffocation, Dying Fetus, Chimaira, Misery Index, Six Feet Under, etc.), which lends the album much more presence than a mere drum machine ever could.
Symphonic Black Metal can sometimes lack bite and attack, but this is not the case here. Unfathomed of Abyss boasts an aggressive demeanour which is only enhanced by the keyboards, effects and piano additions.
Powered by the relentless drumming, the songs are lengthy and layered in thick atmospheres. Care and attention has been spent on these creations that much is clear. Strong soundscapes and expansive Blackened auras permeate everything.
There’s more to these songs than just Black metal though, as influences from Death Metal and even wider genres, (elements of Doom and Djent, for example), can be heard in some of the riffs.
The vocals run the spectrum from deep growls to the very high pitched screaming that forms the bulk of the performance.
Taking off where early Emperor left off; Arisen Upon Oblivion manages to capture a similar feeling to those early classic Black Metal albums. Mix this with a bit of Ihsahn’s solo work and Peccatum and you have an album that manages the admirable achievement of being strongly influenced by a notable Metal legend without sounding like a pale imitation.
This is an enjoyable album that won’t please everyone, but then again that was never the aim of Black Metal was it?