Title: Conjuring The Obscure
Label: Xtreem Music
Release: 11 September 2019
Format reviewed: Digital promo
As I write this review I’m sitting in a rented apartment in Dusseldorf, Germany. I’m here for a week to do an intensive German course. With this in mind, as soon as I discovered that “Conjuring The Obscure” by ABYTHIC was littered with strange passages of dialogue all in German (I hadn’t known the band was German) I knew this review had to be for me. My German is definitely not good enough to know what’s going on (they definitely aren’t baking a cake), but all the same it feels appropriate.
Formed in 2015 and with one album already under their belts (2018’s “Beneath Ancient Portals”), ABYTHIC’s style brings to mind classic Death Metal like MORBID ANGEL and ASPHYX. Album opener “Eternal Chaos Will Rise” begins with some ominous dialogue before crashing in with a chugging guitar riff and pounding drums. The feel of the album throughout is ominous and brooding and when the vocals first appear in familiar gravelly Death Metal style they only add to the sense of dread and doom the band is fashioning.
Linked together with snippets of dialogue, each track offers up one big slab of pounding Death Metal after another. With tracks generally coming in between 3-5min, the band tends to come in hard, there’s no slow build-up here. “Order of the Gash” opens with hammering double bass pedalling and is driven by that old favourite of metal bands wanting to sound evil, that Devil’s Tritone (BLACK SABBATH’s “Black Sabbath” for example).
“Shrouded In Perpetual Darkness” slows down the pace a bit allowing the menace of the music to come to the fore. It’s here that we have the first variation from the standard Death Metal growl to have some more visceral vocals very reminiscent of ASPHYX. There’s more of this in “Shadows Becoming Might”, which also features some interesting marching band style drums and a nice mid-track change of pace and riffing. The best demonstration of varied vocals (and the album high point in my opinion) is the mid-album track “Drifting Among Shadows”. Starting with a sparse drum beat and bass groove, before the guitars enter in with one of those quivering riffs reminiscent of Trey Azagthoth, there’s plenty of variation throughout the track. The beats and rhythms shift, the vocals mutate between grows and strangled howls, and there’s a great mid-track break before a final eerie outro completed with some cool lead guitar lines.
Elsewhere, while the band never loses their momentum, the music does get a bit samey. There are no major surprises on this record. It’s churning, brooding Death Metal, generally mid-tempo with some more furious passages from time to time. Nevertheless there are cool elements throughout (such as the textures and vocal layers on “Coronation of the Burning Winds”, and the chanting vocal passages of “Ruins In A Wasteland of Visions” sounding like singing soldiers trudging through a scorched battlefield). The band plays tight (the drumming is particularly impressive), and while there are no major innovations on this record if you’re looking for a big slab of menacing, aggressive Death Metal you won’t go too far wrong here. 6.5/10 Tom
6.5/10 We May Survive
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