I've just got back from Christmas beer/whiskey shopping. I know it's a bit soon, but I hate crowds in shops and going on Black Friday would have been plain stupid. The bonus of going so early on a Saturday means that I can spend the rest of the day listening to music. I'm starting with something that more than matches the wet, dank day that greeted me this morning. The third full-length Solace For The Condemned, by black/death band Abomnium.
It was released in July via UKEM Records (whom also released the Ulfarr/Hrafnblod split CD, which I love) and is the third record in four years to come from sole member Sapient. It has one of best covers I've seen for a while. I like simplicity and art that matches the music, so this is perfect. I'm just sorry it's taken me this long to write about it.
2. Yad Al Jauza
3. Crown Of Feathers
4. The Walking Man
6. The Paths Of The Dead
7. Purpose Of The Flesh
Opening with swirling, haunting atmosphere and ambience, Abomnium sets the scene and bursts into Condemned, which is filled with fast drumming and blackened guitar harmonies. Sapient’s vocals are ice-cold as well, but it’s his guitar playing that really stands out for me, even this early on. The melodic lead-work throughout the song is very assured and helps create a really engaging sound. There’s a industrial feel to the start of Yad Al Jauza, but it’s quickly overtaken by angular guitar melodies. The bursts of thrash that pepper the song keep it’s momentum strong, while musical virtuosity keeps you hooked right in. For me, it’s the instrumental sections that set this album apart from those of Abomnium’s peers.
There’s more of the aforementioned thrash in the crushing Crown Of Feathers. It’s a real pity that Abomnium isn’t a live entity, because this would go down so well in an intimate live setting or at a DIY festival, especially at a future edition of ‘Kin Hell Fest (if that were to happen again). Sapient’s death metal influences really start to come to the fore during The Walking Man. It’s blackened atmosphere is enough to turn you to stone, only to then be re-awoken by the siren-like guitar solos. The progressive nature of mid-section to The Walking Man is especially breathtaking.
It’s not until the you’re passed the mid-point of Solace For The Condemned and settling into Witchlight, that you realise just how majestic the album is. There is a lot going on in each song, but instead of the song-writing and structure being all over the place, things are split into obvious and classy movements. Transitions between time-changes and moods are seamless and the album’s production is such that no quality is lost. The Paths Of The Dead is just one massive thrash attack from start to finish. It’s infectious pace and groove leaves no time for standing still. Listening to Purpose Of The Flesh, you’d be forgiven for thinking it’s a straight-up metal chugger, but it soon reveals itself to be anything but. Sapient’s frosty, blackened-rasps drag the song down into darker depths and the intense double-bass sweeps through the song like wave after wave of battle-ready infantry. Terrifyingly good!
Album closer Solace sums up the entire album in one final burst of majesty. Since I started writing this blog’ I’ve listened to more and more one-member bands and I can honestly say that the quality of said bands keeps getting better. It’s in part down to the control that the members have and here, Sapient has created an album that will live long in the memory and be repeated aplenty.
You can listen to album closer Solace on Youtube below:-
The CD can be purchased from UKEM Records while stocks last - http://www.ukemrecords.co.uk/product-category/ukem-records-releases/
Abomnium Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/Abomnium
UKEM Records Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/ukemrecords