Coltsblood – Into the Unfathomable Abyss (Candlelight Records)

Tuesday, 4th March 2014
Rating: 7.5/10

Heavily leaden sludgy doom trance is just about the most complete and conclusive phrase to describe Coltsblood of the UK. Their music may be sluggishly slow, but their productivity is rapid! In 2013, Coltsblood released their sold-out demo and a split with Crypt Lurker. Not a year later, here in 2014, they reveal their first full-length, Into the Unfathomable Abyss. These tunes are essentially made for deep thought, some darkened music for the mind.

The first three titles increase in intensity one after another, escalating into a muddled psychosis. The first track, “Valhalla Awaits,” sounds very tribal. Largely made of clannish drum beats, it parades the dominion of Coltsblood. Extending over fourteen minutes, the lengthiest and one of the most hypnotic pieces on the album is “Beneath Black Skies.” Posed by the title and reaffirmed by the music, beginning with a five minute intro to set the mind-altering mood and shaken by a guitar’s snarl, it is a clouding storm of deluging blackness. “Blood,” echoing the band’s morbid name but relatively sounds quite different from the other pieces, swerves into high velocity. Though only two minutes long, it nonetheless shows that Coltsblood can (and do) play rapidly when or if they want. “Grievous Molestation,” noteworthy just for having such a charming title, takes Coltsblood’s atmospheric and smashing metal attributes and binds them into a grieving downpour compacted in resonance. Into the Unfathomable Abyss, in its entirety, has the genuine quality of a chilled out jam session. These musicians (the three J’s: vocalist/bassist John, guitarist Jem, and drummer Jay) are not just playing music, but are in a trance of sound.

The mind-warping cover art, an abstract illustration of skulls and faces within and between one another, is as roughly sketched and mesmerizing as the music – statically raw and protractedly elaborate. No matter what song or which measure, the surrounding miasmic static and trembling bass never wind down. Coltsblood’s Into the Unfathomable Abyss is heavy in a sense that the boulder-like weight of it crushes clear an elongated course towards an enigmatic daze and tumbles into the abyss.

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