Abhainn is a 56-minute progressive black metal album that also contains a healthy amount of doom and folk influences. It’s ambitious and bold, but also very striking and well-realised. The band have clearly put a lot into this work, and it shows; Abhainn is impressive, enjoyable, and definitely not your run-of-the-mill release. Of the promo blurb, it recommends Abhainn for fans of Enslaved, Primordial, Dead Can Dance, Pallbearer, Bathory, Agalloch, and At the Gates, and that’s certainly a good place to start. I’ll also add to this list The Meads of Asphodel and Borknagar too.
The album has a broad range, from acoustic softness, to screaming blackened intensity, to walls of emotive doom, to progressive wanderings, and much else. Corr Mhóna know their art well and have created a textured and individual journey for the listener to explore. The variety on show here is more than is typical when compared to that of you average band and Corr Mhóna do well to tie it all together. This is helped by an overarching concept, and by traditional Irish melodies, lyrics, and musical themes that run through everything here.
Abhainn is a rich and rewarding experience. Every song is different to the last, although all work together to flow into a holistic well-curated whole. You could be listening to choral clean singing one moment, before being crushed by chunky riffs and a bit of first wave worship the next. At other times the band might unleash a flurry of modern blackened aggression that can strip paint at 1000 paces, while at others still you might get caught up in the sort of epic melodic beauty that can become transportive and immersive. Corr Mhóna cover a lot of ground on this album, and it’s ground worth covering.
Make sure you take the time to get to know Abhainn. It’s heavy and aggressive, but also light and introspective. It can grab you with blunt old-school attitude, but also woo you with modern finesse and grace.