When I awoke early in the morning on New Year's Day, I checked my e-mail and found a letter from Abyssal. I loved their debut album, so receiving a letter directly from the band really excited me. The first line simply read, “The time has come.” Indeed.
The first song is a short intro track with the extremely appropriate name, “Forebode”. It serves as a warning that a powerful evil lurks here. After one minute, you are struck down and crushed by the massive wall-of-sound production. They still play the same riffs and song structures I know and love from Denouement (if it ain't broke, don't fix it), but this time the production is more Portal-like in its nature. It has become more sinister and more evil.
As I said earlier, the song structures haven't changed much since the last album, but they do sound much darker. The drums switch between ravenous blasts with lots of double bass and slow, crushing beats that sound like the world is collapsing in on you. They also play some military-style rhythms, such as on “Created Sick; Commanded to be Well” and “The Last King”. There are even these times when they break into these unorthodox jazz sections where the guitar recedes into the background and the bass takes on a greater role, such as on “As Paupers Safeguard Magnates” and “The Last King”. The vocals sound exactly like they did on the last album. It's like the growling of a diabolical entity that lurks in the deepest reaches of the earth.
As always, the best element is the guitars. Thanks to the production, when they unleash their tide of riffs, it creates this colossal cloud of distortion that conjures forth a soul-sucking, diabolical atmosphere. The guitars frequently switch from black metal tremolo picking played through a death metal filter to slow and sinister chugging. However, they also show signs of experimentation, such as the strange noodling at the beginning of “Under the Wretched Sun of Hattin” and the chaotic clashing chords on “A Sheath of Deceit”. Combine all this with occasional displays of melody such as on “The Headless Serpent” and “The Last King” and you create an experience that is both terrifying and wondrous, like peering into the thoughts of a being not of this galaxy.
Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius builds nicely upon the greatness of Denouement, making it darker, more complex, more sinister. I have a feeling they'll be like Anaal Nathrakh or Ulcerate where they'll fit themselves into a little formula and continue to release great albums based on that formula.
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