Abyssic – A Winter’s Tale (Osmose Productions)

Wednesday, 10th February 2016
Rating: 6.5/10

Abyssic, or, A Winter’s Tale is perhaps the result of when a bunch of name Norwegian extreme metal musicians get together to find out they have too much time on their hands. The brainchild of Susperia guitarist Memnock, Abyssic’s origins date all the way back 1997, when they were known as Abyssic Dreams. Susperia eventually took top billing in the priority line, thus rendering Abyssic Dreams to afterthought status until Memnock hooked up with keyboardist Andre Aaslie, fellow Susperia guitarist Elvorn, and noted drummer Asgeir Mickelson of Borknagar and Spiral Architect fame. Abyssic was re-born and re-branded as its known today, and has popped out its first full-length, A Winter’s Tale.

A Winter’s Tale is a bloated, overwrought doom album with unnecessarily long songs, none of which really convey the predetermined atmospheric doom angle. And you know, on paper, it looks like a fantastic idea – a bunch of Norwegian scene veterans making a strong left-hand sonic turn into territories that may not be all that comfortable for them. Alas, the album is largely a boggy mess. Unable to harness any real majestic, sweeping riffs in the bunch, most of the ideas rolled out on A Winter’s Tale have been harvested before. Sure, Mickelson gives his patented blast-beat technique a run-through on “Sombre Dreams,” but it eventually gets lost among typical, ordinary doom ideas and booming orchestration from Aaslie, who appears to be the only guy here with anything to add.

It never should be an effort to make it through an album, but A Winter’s Tale requires that, and at least some perspective, which is why DR’s rating isn’t a total slip down the scale. Probably not what a lot of folks had imagined given the parties involved…a doom sleeper. In the literal sense, unfortunately.

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