Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius

Written by: MST on 17/07/2013 02:22:14

UK-based blackened death metal outfit Abyssal came completely out of nowhere on January 1st with "Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius". Well, almost out of nowhere, as they released their debut "Denouement" in 2012. The trio remains anonymous, and outside of Bandcamp and Youtube which provides nothing but music and a logo in regards to information about the band, they are nowhere to be found on the web. Fitting words to describe their music would be dissonant, twisted, chaotic and very, very atmospheric death metal. Abyssal clearly take inspiration from Australian horror-death metal group Portal, and with bandphotos like this they seem to be aiming for a similar image.

If asked to give Abyssal a genre tag, I would call the music on "Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius" atmospheric death metal. Abyssal's sound can be broken down into immensely heavy and distorted tremolo riffs, extremely textured and varied drums as well as completely indecipherable guttural growls, and all of those three parts deserve praise and recognition. The riffs are often quite simple, and drawn out over a longer period of time with plenty of effects added to them to create that dense atmosphere. The drums remind me of Blut Aus Nord's programmed drums in how they're often offbeat, technical and at times even weird, and it has indeed been speculated that Abyssal's drums are artificial as well. The vocals should really be considered an atmospheric instrument in music like this since you can't understand a single word of the extremely guttural, multi-layered growls that actually utter excellent lyrics. While some may argue that decipherable growls are better, in the context of atmospheric and impossibly dark music like this, the inhuman, hellish utterances fit the soundscape extremely well.

While every song on the album can stand on its own, "Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius" is definitely an album best suited for complete and thorough listens. The expertly crafted compositions shine even brighter in the context of the red thread in the album. After a short intro, "The Tongue Of The Demagogue" opens the album all guns blazing with blasting drums and tremolos promising the utter destruction that is to come. The song slows down and relies more on heavy chugging to accompany the vocals for large parts of the song with short bursts of blastbeats here and there, and ends with an absolutely perfect section of much slower drums and riffs that could easily be called a breakdown. Apart from the intro and the regular tracks, the 11-track album contains two short atmospheric interludes in "Elegy Of Ruin" and "Elegy Of Slaves" as well as the only slightly weak part of the album; a 10-minute instrumental called "Created Sick; Commanded To Be Well" that leads into album closer "The Last King". The instrumental is not bad at all, but its length drags the overall intensity of the album down somewhat, especially because the closing track is such a massive one. This is a very minor flaw though, because this is an album full of highlights; all the regular tracks are brooding, ominous premonitions of destruction, and even the less prominent tracks can easily stand beside album highlight "A Sheath Of Deceit" which should easily be able to sway over any interested Portal fan.

On the very first day of this year, Abyssal set the precedent for extreme metal in the year 2013. "Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius" is an absolutely monstrous album, a monolith of impending ruin, and for those able to look past the inaccessible nature of the dark music presented here it is a showing of brilliant musicianship. "Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius" is an hour's worth of some of the most interesting extreme metal released in recent times and an obvious contender for album of the year, at least for this writer.


Download: The Tongue Of The Demagogue, Under The Wretched Sun Of Hattin, A Sheath Of Deceit, The Last King
For The Fans Of: Portal, Blut Aus Nord, Ævangelist
Listen: Bandcamp

Release date: 01.01.2013

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