A Beacon In The Husk

June 24, 2019


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The Pitch: UK atmospheric death metal band Abyssal maintains its lead ahead of the pack with a new album to really rattle your bones. FFO: Portal, Ulcerate, Altarage

What I Like: Fitting to the monstrous sound that this project is known for, the opening moments are like a massive giant awakening from a long slumber. Pretty sure he's hungry too. But as per Abyssal's usual focus on scope, "Dialogue" is a constantly shifting field of colliding tectonic plates, sometimes dismal and doomy, others quite melodic and strangely serene. And that's only the beginning. "Shapes Upon The Retina" takes the experimentation further than ever before with its pure, eerie ambience broken only by spoken word (or ear-straining grumbles really). This eventually devolves into a maelstrom of improvisational-sounding drums, noise, and demented death growls. I must say, its a much doomier record than any previous outing, with the more traditional, reverberating sustains and sluggish pacing of "Awakening/Metamorphosis" as a prime example. But never fear; tracks like "We Who Beheld The Fall Of Axioms" and "The Cloister Beneath The Grime" still bring the more technical flair of Ulcerate, and they'll often trick you as to which direction they're going to go.

Critiques: If we're stacking up the discography thus far, I don't love this in the same way that I do Antikatistaseis. That was an album that captured my heart and soul instantaneously and has never let go since with its perfect pacing. While I still highly regard everything Abyssal is doing here, my current impression is that there are too many doomy lulls for my taste, which slightly reduces my overall impression.

The Verdict: Abyssal continue to make most other metal look sad and derivative when it comes to death, doom, and everything in between. While A Beacon In The Husk didn't quite scratch the same itch as it predecessor, it's certainly an album the demands your attention in 2019 for its unique approach and suffocating atmosphere.

Flight's Fav's: Dialogue, II – Discernment: The Cloister Beneath The Grime, II – Discernment: The Triumph Of Fools

- Review by FlightOfIcarus

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