Wednesday, 10 June 2015

Abrahma – Reflection in the Bowels of a Bird (2015) / 84%

The Baguette Doom Series pt. XIII: Paris Psyché

From the eternal French capital city of Paris, this quartet released their sophomore record some months ago and it's certainly an impressive one. Formed under another moniker (
Alcohsonic, I'm glad they changed their name...) a decade ago, these dudes are pretty fantastic. First of all, they don't sound French at all, their music is more in line with what Americans, Italians or Germans are known for. Secondly, they manage to sound totally fresh despite having some ancient forefathers.

Abrahma is an excellent mix of many influences into a very coherent whole. The first band I noticed is Alice in Chains, the Frenchmen really love the Jerry Cantrell lead band and its combination of grunge, heavy metal, stoner and doom. The vocals of Sébastien Bismuth also remind me of the melodies the Seattle legends are using. This kind of hypnotically tired, slack vocal delivery is enjoyable, he's able to keep things interesting throughout the album too by varying his style. To give an example, when things become calmer, he switches to this sort of ethereal whispering and it fits the music quite well (like on closer “Conium”. Sometimes, the vocals are simply used as a background instrument and it adds to the atmospheric side of Abrahma.

Outside of the Alice in Chains influence, there's some southern metal influences joined to a spectacular and super heavy psychedelic backdrop. Think of Yob but more streamlined and accessible and you wouldn't be too far from their actual sound. Add some traditional doom metal, some modern occult rock and you have a fine record. Bismuth is also handling one of the two guitars but most importantly, all the psychedelic effects and keyboards. The song structures are to the point and most songs are around five minutes. Their blend of styles is groovy and features heavy, catchy guitar riffs, thick bass lines and desert rock inspired guitar leads. They intertwine between soulful, emotional pieces and heavier ones like a charm. The musicianship is pretty solid (the rhythm section is two brothers so the chemistry is obvious)

Their music is subtle yet fun and like its magnificent cover art, it's full of details and colors. Abrahma are capable of navigating the seas of both rock and metal and they sail them well, assembling the elements they used isn't a simple task but they were ingenious enough to make it sound effortlessly.

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