Depicting Abysm – Immersion (Naturmacht Productions)Wednesday, 8th January 2014
Depicting Abysm, hailing from Saint Petersburg, Russia, remind us about their region’s strong ties to the sea. On their debut, Immersion, we glimpse the album artwork of a ship with ragged sails negotiating the high seas, with a sentiment that could be described as bleak.
Depressive black metal is the persuasion here, perhaps suggesting Agalloch, although with more of a morose mood, and honestly, not the same caliber of songwriting. Admittedly a flawed comparison, it is the guitar leads which set the melodies herein that struck a chord with me in trying to relate the sound to a more well-known group.
Four songs comprise this 42-minute release of slow-to-mid tempo tunes, thick in wet and cold atmosphere, both evocatively and literally (the sound of ocean waves is heard in all songs,) and features clean production values which are an asset to the album’s good atmosphere building. In other words – the main melodies’ interplay with the bass guitar, background washes of the rhythm guitar and solid drumming sound good together…modern, full, and convincing.
“On the Waterfront” starts things off and feels like essentially an eight minute intro to the next track. An instrumental mood-setter, this unremarkable song is awfully long, being as unproductive as it is. “Descent” finally introduces us to what feels like a proper song as well as to the vocals, a tortured, shrieked wail of convincing despair. Actually, the vocals are a strong point, adeptly done and incorporate various styles of black metal variances.
When the third song “Le Mariniste” hits, I’m first left wondering if I just got done hearing this one already. This revelation brings up the issue that, well, all of the songs sound sort of the same. If we call it album cohesion, then it’s a positive. However, “cohesion” feels more like repetitiveness – which isn’t an asset here. Peppered throughout the album are moments of blastbeat intensity, potently haunted riffs, tempo breaks and shimmering texture. The musical performance, while overall good, is overshadowed by its somewhat monotonous nature. It’s worth a listen for fans of the genre and a solid, if underwhelming debut.