Abyssal – Antikatastaseis (Profound Lore)

Sunday, 21st June 2015
Rating: 9/10

Despite their mysterious nature, Abyssal made a name for themselves over two solid albums that they self-distributed (mostly through Bandcamp for a “name your price” release). As more heads began to turn, Profound Lore Records reissued their second release, Novit Enim Dominus Qui Sunt Eius, and are set to divulge the band’s third album, Antikatastaseis.

While setting themselves up along the lines of Portal and Mitochondrion, Abyssal don’t exactly follow the cavernous black/death metal approach. While listening you will bear witness to the monolith of heaviness (and murkiness) that every band that embraces Onward to Golgotha revels in, but the subtleties that creep into the music are what make this album special. Within the first two tracks (“I Am the Alpha and the Omega” and “The Cornucopian”) you will hear some eerie, sometimes dissonant melodies that beg further exploration. “Chrysalis” has some foreboding melodies in the back half of the track that bring the band into a less ‘creepy’ and almost proggy approach that somehow doesn’t feel out of place. The final track, “Delere Auctorem Rerum Ut Universum Infinitum Noscas” offers a slow-burn ambient beginning before it builds into a black/death/doom march that feels more triumphant than oppressive.

Those thinking that Abyssal have lost some their gargantuan heft can rest assured that this is not the case. A personal favorite would be “Telomeric Erosion” (bonus points for the nerdy science title), which begins with a gleefully relentless wall of sound before later diverting into some chanting and atmosphere. “A Casual Landscape” continues with this oppressive and horrific payoff after a dark, quiet build. Another highlight is the use of keys, not to an effect of grandeur but spine-chilling horror, in the track “Veil of Transcendence.” The keys begin eerily enough on their own, but then Abyssal integrates it into the background of thunderous riffs to create something truly otherworldly.

Those who may have missed out on Abyssal’s previous efforts will undoubtedly be drawn to Antikatastaseis due the band’s justly elevated presence. This is atmospheric death metal that perfectly suits the minimalist yet fantastic artwork that adorns its cover. A vortex of bleakness and chaos, yet there’s something beautiful and engrossing about it. Stare directly into the eye of it and let it suck you into the abyss.

Abyssal at Bandcamp