Once I stopped listening to Auroch’s “From Forgotten Worlds”, I just moved forward to another recent release from Hellthrasher, hoping that it will make a better impression on me that the disappointing album of that Canadian band. I putted on Abysme’s debut CD and maaaaaaaan, now I can say that I feel way happier and satisfied with the music on it. Again we deal with completely unknown band, this one hailing from Pittsburgh, USA, but I really can say that the style of Abysme is something way more exciting and killer for my musical taste than the cacophonous and way too complex playing of Auroch. I don’t know whether the demo from 2009 was any good, but it must have been, if it caught the attention of Bartek from Hellthrasher, who offered the deal to Abysme and quickly “Strange Rites” was released (now the LP version is announced by Blood Harvest!!!). Oh, and I just found out that Abysme features a founding member of Funerus, Brad Heiple, who’s been in this band already in the very beginning, in the early 90’s as well as on the debut full length, “Festering Earth” (I don’t know only why did he let McEntee’s to take the control over his band? Not that I’m complaining, as they do awesome job! Just listen to “Reduced to Sludge”!!!!!)
I’m obviously not going to compare Abysme to Auroch, as there’s no point in it. Both bands – except the label – have absolutely nothing in common, but I can say one thing first: Abysme is way more old school and traditional sounding death metal band and for me it works in their advantage and makes their music more interesting for me than the weird and complex song structures of Auroch. Definitely the Swedish scene has made a huge impact on the Abysme music, even the guitar tone can give you this idea, but please don’t expect some simple and boring rip off of the old Swedish bands, as I think that Abysme actually managed to build something exceptionally unique on the ruins of the traditional death metal from Sweden as well as US (Autopsy, Death, Repulsion), UK (Bolt Thrower) and Holland (Asphyx, Pestilence, Gorefest). OK, they (Abysme) may not be discovering the new planets, but definitely, maybe due to the fact that it seems like Abysme is not influenced directly just by one band only, but a wider range of classic acts, they make an impression to be different that most of the current old styled death metal bands.
The most obvious influence for Abysme would probably be Entombed, whose “Left Hand Path” must have made a huge impact on the creators of “Strange Rites”. Another one, which I must point out, is Dismember and their debut album of corpse. Traces of these cult and influential LPs you can spot in many parts of Abysme’s music, take a listen to “Formless” for instance and I guess the opening fragment of it will be enough to convince you. But then there are some faster tunes also, which will break your neck in the good old Repulsion way (“Beyond the Seventh Door”) and on top of that you’ll get hit by some slower bits as well. I especially liked “Annihilated Memory”, where the opening slow riff is just a masterpiece, reminding me the good old Asphyx, but the whole song also has some faster and more relentless pieces, so in the end it is just a killer dose of death metal music. From the other hand if you’ll survive the ferocity of “Beyond the Seventh Door” then you may discover how memorable so many riffs from this album are. It could probably have been even more catchy, if such a big part of “Strange Rites” wasn’t focusing on the fast, neckbreaking songs like the one I just mentioned or “Fallen Colossus”. Hmm, actually if I’m going to be honest – and I always am in my reviews – then I would say that my only minor complain for Abysme would be the fact that I liked those slower or mid tempo parts more, while the fast ones tend to bore me a little, as they all sound always the same. But that definitely do not spoil the impression for the whole album so much.
One of the most noticeable tracks off the “Strange Rites” is definitely the closing one, “Remarkable Conqueror”, which will nail you down with this long, monumental doomy part, which Abysme plays in the end and definitely this sounds like the most proper way to finish such an excellent album – with the sounds of the doom or apocalypse, which announces coming of the end. Well, the wall of slow, massive riffs is something what only pushes to play the whole album again and I do so without a hesitation. Besides, the whole album is just about 35 minutes on the clock, so there’s no room for boredom, but plenty of rotten energy and lethal, cutting riffage. Ha, check out also the artwork on the album, with this terrifying rite of great Lovecraftian creature, which rips and devours people, who perform an orgy of sex and murder (decapitated people, butchered babies… anything you want!).
Anyway, this definitely is an album, to which I’ll be coming back more often. There will be a vinyl version available through the mighty Blood Harvest, so stay tuned and join the strange, horrendous rite of this Pittsburgh trio.
Standout tracks: “Remarkable Conqueror”, “Formless”, “Annihilated Memory”
Final rate: 80/100