Friday, 10 July 2015

Abyss – Heretical Anatomy (2015) / 84%

Dive the Deepest Abyss

I discovered Abyss last year at Montréal's extreme metal and punk festival RRROOOAAARRR (yes, named after the Voivod's album) and they were pretty impressive. Their latest release at the time was a blistering fourteen minutes live album (it has the same name as this first full length album, this is a tad confusing) and we were due for something else from the Ontario natives. Some tracks from this live album are making an appearance here as well. They're getting more and more noticed right now as they signed a contract with 20 Buck Spin (a label full of excellent bands) and they recently opened for Bolt Thrower's gig in their home city of London!

Speaking of the English legends, Abyss aren't too far from what they play or were playing. It's high octane death metal combined with crust and hardcore and it's nasty as hell. It's on the short side but like Nails' exceptional second album “Abandon All Life”, the twenty minutes or so is thoroughly enjoyable, crushing and fast as a shark. They intertwine between brief numbers like “Flesh Cult” and its fifty-five seconds or so and longer, more intricate numbers like the nearly death/doom number “Thrall of the Elder Gods”. It's quite varied for a short album, really.

Abyss, despite their generic, unoriginal monicker are quite fresh in the metal landscape, their blend of old school death with a very clear punk approach is akin to Black Breath's infectious groovy formula full of HM2 pedal and Entombed worship. They mix the precursory days of death metal, the era where the boundaries of every styles weren't set in stone (see Repulsion or Carcass) with the flair of modern hardcore, you know the recent style that was able to navigate through these solid boundaries and explore metal as well (see Martyrdöd, Wolfbrigade, the aforementioned Nails or vocalist David Kristiansen's other band Column of Heaven). I can also hear some Slayer in this, especially the “Reign In Blood” era. Some song have this ultra fast thrash sound and it's also reflected in the vocal department. It's harsh but somewhat well enunciated and has this crossover/powerviolence appeal.

Throughout the eight tracks and the twenty minutes voyage through hell and back (look at this gloomy cover art), you understand the primal urge found in these guys' music. It's intense, uncompromising art. The guitars are incisive and even though the tracks are short, they still take the time to deliver short (or long!) dark & sweet leads. The drums are a war machine and they sound like two or three tanks destroying their way through Belgium. The extremely tight production (mixed and mastered by Joel Grind of Toxic Holocaust) definitely help the record in its apocalyptic quest. Abyss explores the primitive eras of metal and managed to vomit an excellent debut album full of spite and mega riffs. Plunge into their abyssal might.

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