Sunday, 13 September 2015

Through the Corpse Maze

Band: Abominor
Release: 'Opus: Decay' EP (2015)

Thoroughly en vogue of late, the most attuned devotees find it difficult not to gravitate toward anything labelled 'Icelandic black metal'. However, it isn't without good reason, as the well-knit scene spits out impressive release after impressive release at a seemingly unstoppable rate.

Confidently demonstrating their take on the Icelandic sound, Abominor are bass-heavy, textured and an almost tangible, swirling sonic mire. Possessing more of a black/death bearing than many of their compatriots, replete with blasted, dissonant sections, it is when affairs slow down, even slightly, that things get truly interesting.

Though it may be sacrilegious to even suggest, the band drift into post-black metal territory on occasion by offering inventive yet subtle melodies neatly woven into the slow- to mid-tempo portions of their work. Mercifully, tortured vocals and a return to Deathspell Omega-style slided riffing ensure Abominor steer clear of saccharine sweet, flannel shirt environs before their efforts are indelibly sullied.

Now synonymous with the aforementioned Icelandic sound, 'Opus: Decay' was recorded, mixed and mastered at Studio Emissary, the Icelandic studio curated by an Irish man who has had input into some the genre's best output in recent years. A veritable midas touch has lent weight and credibility to releases from Dysangelium, Sinmara and Svartidau├░i; further involvement with both Icelandic acts and some from further afield is sure to give life to yet more future classics.

To solidify an emerging Irish/Icelandic union even more, the EP was handled by veteran Irish underground label Invictus Productions, which sees Abominor rub shoulders with other noteworthy emerging acts such as Akatechism, Antiversum and Malthusian, nestling them among yet more of the heavier black/death metal recipe.

As is the case with many of the best EPs, this offering also finds its pace towards its all too premature close. 'Opus: Decay' sufficiently demonstrates Abominor's ability to hew arresting material imbued with just enough melody, lashings of atmosphere and a certain malevolent pulse. There's definite potential on display here, and sounding that little bit different to the other Icelandic maniacs currently operating in the same sphere can't do Abominor any harm, but quite possibly the total opposite.

Rating: 75%