The latest Abstracter album – Cinereous Incarnate – is a twisted, blackened work of dark art. In my humble opinion it’s the band’s best work to date, and I heavily recommend that you grab it when it’s released on Friday of this week.
Without any further preamble, have a look at the interview with the band below. If that doesn’t further convince you to check out Cinereous Incarnate, then the stream at the bottom hopefully will. Bring on the end times!
Introduce us to Abstracter
Hello. We’re a four piece band from Oakland, California, active since 2010. We’ve released three full lengths and a split to date, and we play a blend of doom metal, crust, and black metal with a heavy use of atmospherics.
What are your influences?
Our sound is influenced by the progenitors of dark and more experimental crossover genres: Godflesh, Disembowelment, Amebix, Corrupted, Celtic Frost, Dystopia, Craft, Khanate, Lustmord, Skullflower, etc. Thematically and lyrically the band is focused solely on mankind’s extinction, and influence for that is drawn from multiple science fiction, horror and counterculture political works: apocalyptic, dystopian, anti-natalist, anarchist, environmentalist, misanthropic/nihilist, etc.
Name five things you’ve listened to recently that you’d recommend
Triptykon – Melana Chasmata
Judas Priest – Firepower
The Ruins of Beverast – Exuvia
Knelt Rote – Alterity
Indian – From All Purity
Tell us about your latest release – what does Cinereous Incarnate mean to you?
It is an album that was created at the culmination of internal turmoil and of traumatic loss, and as such it means survival for us. The process to create the album snaked in and out of instability. First internal struggles and line up changes that almost disintegrated the band, then grief. The band was nearly dissolved and reduced to two members when the writing began so the album is somewhat of a survival effort for us. Once we were out of the shadows as far as internal turmoil goes (thanks to a newly acquired rhythm section) then grief struck and plunged us back into uncertainty. Overall writing it was an instinctual battle for survival against the odds. The album means the world to us specifically ’cause it stands as the epitaph of this intense and dark time of our lives that marked us. And also, because musically it’s our best output to date by far and contains some of our most accomplished and focused ideas.
How were the songs constructed on Cinereous Incarnate, and what collaborations went into its making?
Two of us write all the riffs as it’s been this way since the beginning of the band then we present them to our drummer who solidifies the basic ideas and lays down the backbone of the songs. Bass comes next and then vocals are added last. Kevin Gan Yuen of Sutekh Hexen provided extra soundscapes on all the tracks and industrial artist Only Now helped us pen the interludes. Ben Hirschfeld recorded the drums and Greg Wilkinson tracked and mixed all the rest. Greg has worked with bands like Vastum, Undergang, Acephalix, Noothgrush, Graves at Sea, etc, so he knows heavy music engineering to the atomic level. Mastering was done by Brad Boatright, the overlord of extreme mastering.
What’s your favourite track on the album and why?
I like them all cause we never settle on a song If it’s objectively inferior to any other one. So the songs were all worked on extensively to be all consistent with each other. “Ashen Reign” was the first one we wrote for this album and the hardest one to complete so I will pick that one.
To my ears this album contains your most diverse material yet, with faster sections that are faster, slower sections that are slower, and an overall increase in dark, bleak atmosphere. What’s your take on this?
As mentioned, at the beginning of the writing process we had the entire rhythm section of the time leave for internal disconnects. Then in came Adam our new drummer. He’s an extreme metal punisher who’s forged his drumming skills with powerviolence, grindcore, and brutal death metal. This was the cornerstone and point of no return for us. His drumming allowed us to take this band to the place we always wanted it to be. The use of blasting was increased a lot by letting our death and black metal influences breathe more than ever before and the slower parts became less soulful and just more merciless and cold; even slower, and just focused on bleak blunt force trauma.
Triptykon has been an increasing influence on the band in recent times, and so we inevitably incorporated similar miserable and evil overtones as well. Noise, drone, and Dark ambient have always been things we’ve enjoyed for years, and have now become increasingly relevant influences for the band as well, that we’ve learned to hone and incorporate in our music.
How important would you say the lyrical component is on this release, and do the lyrics bring up and themes or subjects that have not been explored by Abstracter before?
Very important. More than ever before on this album we wanted to make sure the story being told through the music, the atmospheres evoked and the overall density and breadth of the music had its accompanying “script” – the lyrics. Abstracter’s lyrical themes have never changed, and probably never will. Our first LP had a more personal and intimate take on things, but the overall connecting thread of end-times visions and hallucinations of doom remains unvaried. Lyrics are always fundamental for us, as we see it as the band must be “about” something, otherwise, we’re without a purpose and a meaning. I would have to argue that since the music is more evil and even darker than before on this record, so are its lyrics, and this is true to some extent. In this band the lyrics are inexorably tied to the music, and one completes the other.
Tell us about the album artwork and how it relates to the music
The art was done by long time friend and collaborator Kevin Gan Yuen of Sutekh Hexen fame, an extremely talented and visionary visual artist (and musician). It represents man’s reality in its last days of survival when hope is nothing more than a pale and faint flickering light dying away in a boundless twilight. Various elements of our “storytelling” are apparent in the art: religious delirium, nuclear devastation, environmental collapse, natural disaster, plague, war, disease, omnipotent ruin, death and torment.
If you had to do it all over again, is there anything about Cinereous Incarnate that you’d change?
For the first time in our recording history, absolutely nothing. It actually came out beyond expectations.
How would you compare your latest album to your previous work?
The older albums were our best attempt at getting close(er) to where we eventually have always wanted to be, this one is us actually getting there.
How do you think your music will progress in the future?
We don’t know. As you can see, every release pushes us in new direction. I do have a feeling however as mentioned above that we’ve finally come full circle with this one and found our true, intended, and always desired sound, so in the future we may just focus on refining what we’ve harnessed on Cinereous Incarnate. We feel complete and accomplished, with all our many influences finally shining through and on full display.
With such a dense and layered sound, what are your thoughts on how this translates into the live environment?
Our live set is well suited for these songs. All our songs are born first and foremost live, from jamming together. The only possible difference from the recording is that with one guitar the songs have an even more raw and vicious sound, but over all everything is preserved.
Do you have any upcoming shows you want to talk about?
We have a record release show in our hometown Oakland on June 9th, and then we play the Red River Family Fest in Austin TX in September. Live shows are something we don’t purse much for various reasons too long to explain.
What does the rest of 2018 hold for Abstracter?
Some shows abroad which we can’t disclose as of yet.
Any final words?
Thank you sincerely from all four of us for your time and support.