Sludge heaviness mixes with psychedelic hypnotic grooves to create slow, torturous music that takes the listener on a tour through forgotten swamps, populated by hideous witches, (do you see what I did there?).
Deep growled vocals act as a guide on this foul journey, paving a path through the murk with sheer force of diseased will. Continue reading
Both of Abstracter’s full length albums, (Tomb of Feathers and Wound Empire), feature regularly in my listening. And with good reason; their brand of heavy, blackened Sludge/Doom is expertly done. On this release they contribute 2 tracks, lasting almost 20 minutes in total.
Barathrum starts off showcasing the band’s blackened aspect, with dark, murky blast beats charging through a sea of tar. This rather quickly spends itself, leading into a slow, sludgy crawl through murkiest waters as Abstracter embrace their dirty Doom side. Occasional forays into speed and groovier territories comprise the remaining running time, with the singer’s thick growl accompanying you the entire way.
If you haven’t encountered Abstracter before then this song is as good an introduction as any into their harsh, underground Sludge Metal.
But we’re not done yet, as there’s a second track; Where All Pain Converges. This is a little longer than the first and generally a bit slower and more considered. If Barathrum showcased the band’s harsher side then this one showcases their more atmospheric. That’s not to say this isn’t harsh and heavy, (it is), but that it also has more of a blatant emotive quality to the guitars than the soul-crushing nihilism of the first. Mixing slower sections with some more upbeat parts, the overall mood is maintained throughout and Abstracter once again show why they’re so very good at what they do.
After this onslaught of despair and misery, we leave Abstracter to wallow in their pit of pain, and approach, timidly, Dark Circles. This band offer up a different form of gloom with their characterful brand of dark Hardcore. Being familiar with their previous work on MMXIV, it’s good to catch up with them again and here they give us 4 songs, lasting just under 13 minutes.
Ashen starts us off with a squeal of feedback before violently picking up the pace with the band’s dark blend of abrasive Hardcore. One of the things I like about Dark Circles is their ability to inject an emotive bleakness into their raging chaos, engaging the listener and prompting them to move closer, despite the inherent danger. The second track Void follows on in a similar theme, (but with added atmosphere), and both initial tracks blur by in a haze of anger and distorted malice.
After these typically short and nasty affairs both of the next tracks are much longer by comparison, relative to this split and to their work on MMXIV. Isolate starts immediately, all blackened teeth and bile. The longer playing time allows the band the opportunity to flesh out the more atmospheric side of their sound that briefly reared its head during Void. This shows itself to be an apocalyptic Sludge/Doom influence, heavy and foreboding, before the Hardcore energy picks up once more.
The final track is called Epilogue (Quietus) OP. 28 No. 4 and is a little different, as the name suggests; here the band give vent to a dark ambient side and swamp the listener with a slow-building tense piece of drone that creates a nicely unsettling and worrying atmosphere.
Both bands have contributed some very nice work to this split release, and although they do play different styles they also have more than enough overlap and similar themes to complement each other perfectly. As splits go, this works a treat and is definitely one you should check out.
After really enjoying their 2012 debut album Tomb of Feathers, this is a release that has been eagerly awaited in these parts.
The first track, Lightless, seems to slowly writhe up out of a dark pit of urban decay, attempting to smother the land with its malignant spread. It’s an insidious start to the album and before you realise what’s going on you’re trapped in a nightmare landscape of pitch-black smoke and evil.
But oh dear Lord is it good. Rarely has cloying, suffocating Sludge felt so visceral and nastily enticing.
Abstracter are heavy and grim in the best ways that Sludge and Doom can achieve. These songs are essays in crawling malevolence and destructive passion. The band emanate a very raw darkness that you can feel like a physical presence.
I like the combination of nuanced riffing, heavy guitars and brutally gorgeous delivery. Abstracter effortlessly combine the beauty of Post-Metal with the dirty horror of Sludge. Their songwriting skills are such that moments of ugliness and transcendence are merged together. When the shades of light and dark clash there’s only ever going to be one true winner, but even though the menacing and murky atmospheres encase everything, the light isn’t totally consumed; you can feel it pulsing, straining against its captivity by this Hellish beast. This tense undercurrent is what gives Wound Empire its hidden beauty.
There’s a Black Metal influence to their sound that fits flawlessly into what they do. It’s not overbearing and doesn’t detract from the Doom, it just adds a further layer of thickly encrusted grime to songs that are already intimately familiar with all things subterranean.
With each of these titanic monuments to apocalyptic dystopian futures, I think that Abstracter have outdone themselves and actually managed to top their début album. No mean feat.
With true depth of composition and a talent for wrapping the listener up in their vision of all things gloomy and heavy, Abstracter have produced an album that has blown me away.
This is a bit of a corker. Heavy, winding, aggressive but also refined when needed.
The harsh vocals are suitably caustic in nature and some slightly unusual cleans add a further layer to the music. The clean vocals offer unorthodox highlights and never take the obvious route with their melodies.
This is Post-Metal drowned in Sludge. The filth and grim disease of a forgotten underworld positively drips off the sound as it raises itself up from the dredges to pull down anyone nearby.
Unlike a lot of Post-Metal the Sludge portion of their sound means there’s very little nicety here. The band kick out the angry jams and boy do they know how to write a good riff.
The sound is earthy, organic and complements the rawness of the band extremely well.
Abstracter are a focused singularity of woe and rage, compressed so tightly that not even light can escape once they have it in their clutches. These songs are engaging and absorbing. How is it that this album wasn’t immediately brought to my attention the moment it was birthed by whatever unspeakable ceremony carried it forth?
This is a work of talented individuals who have made who-knows-what kind of bargains to have the much sought after ability to channel something very special into these three tunes. Each song has its own story and manages to be both a journey and a destination in its own right.
If they’re this good already in their very short career, who knows what they will accomplish next? I can’t wait to find out.