This is the second album from US Sludge/Doom band Abstracter.
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.
Fans of Neurosis, Altar of Plagues, Indian, Inter Arma, Amenra, Yob, Wolvhammer, Thou, etc. should perk up and take notice now.