Monday, February 20, 2012

Abyssal - Denouement

I came across Abyssal's Denouement through word of a friend (that dude over at Curse Of The Great White Elephant prior to his post about the album), and subsequently I saw blogs light up with posts relating the greatness of the album. Some people labeled the album militaristic black/death similar Mitochondrion or Adversarial while others compared Denouement to more esoteric acts like Impetuous Ritual, Flourishing, and Ulcerate. I love all of those bands so I decided to toss out the idea of comparing these guys to them and decided to listen to them for what they are.

And they are indeed fucking awesome. If anything it assured me that Denouement is an early contender for album of the year.

Creeping cold. Cover the windows. Huddle up next to the candle for warmth as the frost begins to overtake your body and soul. That's what listening to Denouement feels like. The elements of black metal are refreshing and add a dense layer of foreboding, natural atmosphere that makes Denouement feel tormented and very human. The organic aspect of the album is fantastic, and when the tracks crescendo like at the end of album intro "The Moss Upon Our Ruins," it feels empowering with respect to the bleak aesthetic present throughout Denouement.

Musically speaking the album features technically proficient instrumentation with densely layered textures and dynamic song structures. If this doesn't sound appealing to you, then you're probably reading the wrong blog. I love this shit. Dynamics are something I can't get enough of in music and nothing irritates me more than stale, predictable structures with stale, predictable riffing. Denouement features neither, and each track grows in numerous ways. Some of the later tracks, in particular the album closer "Swansong Of A Dying Race" get a bit predictable, but for the most part each track is a breath of fresh air. "When Paradigms Supplant Gods" has a few interesting chromaticisms despite being a bit overlong, and "Detritivore" is a chugging, atmospheric ballad that reaches a glorious exposition.

There are times where I find myself reveling in the brutality of the track as well. "Celestial Dictatorship" is a good example with it's mid-paced riffing and ultra-fast drumming, while halfway through "Deus Vult" is what I would consider the apex of brutality on Denouement. I can definitely hear how the drums would come off as militaristic and somewhat over the top in the mix. However as a sucker for rhythm instruments (drums, bass) I'm totally okay with that. I did call Adversarial's All Idols Fall Before The Hammer my album of the year 2010 after all. My biggest complaint with the production is that the bass doesn't shine through as often as I would like it to. I feel like bass guitar as an instrument could add a lot to further texture what is already a really dense release. Otherwise the instrumentation is relatively technical and the production is fine.

Some of the tracks do in fact sound very influenced by French black metal ("Deus Vult," "When Paradigms Supplant Gods") and you can hear the obvious influences from other bands, but for the most part Abyssal does a great job of distinguishing themselves by combining these elements effortlessly and fluently, creating a cohesive black/death monstrosity with Denouement.

9.0 out of 10


1. The Moss Upon Our Ruins
2. Celestial Dictatorship
3. Deus Vult
4. Detritivore
5. When Paradigms Supplant Gods
6. Swansong of a Dying Race

the cold embrace of death (bandcamp, it's free!)

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