Abstracter – Wound Empire


Thrusting the listener into a doomed physical and emotional landscape, a stark yet compelling void, US doomers Abstracter enchant and suffocate with the impressive Wound Empire. Four tracks to immerse within gleefully whilst expanding into the darkest corners of the psyche, the forty minute long album is a tantalising and fearsome journey though the rawest of climates over uncompromising wastelands.

Wound Empire is the successor to debut album Tomb of Feathers; a new encounter which those in the know suggest finds the Oakland band taking their already acclaimed sound to further reaching intensive heights. Breeding their own bordering on hallucinatory soundscapes within Wound Empire from inspirations which range from essences of Godfesh, Swans, and Neurosis to His Hero is Gone, Blut Aus Nord, Dystopia, and Darkthrone, Abstracter recorded their release with Greg “The Wizard of Doom” Wilkinson (Brainoil, Iron Lung, High On Fire, Noothgrush, OM, Atriarch) last year. Continuing their “fascination with concepts of human decline, cultural and industrial ruin, and complete social collapse,” the band swiftly engulfs and incites from the release’s first breath.

Lightless opens on a sonic breeze, broadening its haunted cold presence through raw caresses of guitar and a resonating heavy bass tone. As the whole of the album’s proposal, the track is a slow expansion of sound but every note and heavy lure offers a potent piece in an emerging picture. Once in full caustically scenic view, riffs gnaw and beckon with corrosive breath and infectious nature whilst the bass turns carnivorous in sound and predation as it prowls the track’s primordial terrain. Oppressively heavy and crushingly merciless, the doom drenched offering surprisingly has a potent swagger and contagiousness to its unsettling presence, a catchiness to enthral and grip ears and body as imagination and emotions are buffeted and ignited by the sonic enterprise.

There is no respite from the cavernous depths and cold of the climate evolved in its predecessor as Open Veins follows; the blackened sludge reaped tar of sound and coarse emotions a FINAL_ABSTRACTER_jacketmelancholic poison seeping over flesh and thought whilst crust caked vocals roar and slowly squally within the invasive doom. Slim but toxic grooves only add to the allure and detached nature of the track, their minimalistic but rich tempting a vine to grip as the rest of the sounds and vocals groan with the breath of hell.

The transfixing presence of Cruciform comes next and by this point the realisation that Wound Empire should definitely be taken as one fluid dose rather than individual apocalyptic descents into glacial prisons is evident. It is fair to say that the track holds none of the almost welcoming traits of its predecessors but still has some form of catchiness to its flight into the heart of the soulless; its sounds binding as they erode air and senses with caustic persistence.

Wound Empire is concluded by Glowing Wounds, a calmer slightly celestial tempting which still remains encased in an immense doom sculpted embrace. The track is as meditative as it is sonically fierce, a lingering flight across radiant hopes but accompanied by an insidious hold of unrelenting blackened malevolence. A masterful end to a seriously riveting encounter, song and album will not be an easy fit for all, but offers a thought and emotion provoking arousal each can take something from. In the dark times and world which encroaches on us all, it is releases like this and its groan of hell rather than most tirades of words which brings the cold reality home.

Wound Empire is released in the US and Europe on February 10th 2015 digitally via Sentient Ruin Laboratories @ http://sentientruin.bandcamp.com/album/wound-empire, on cassette through Sentient Ruin Laboratories and An Out Recordings, on CD by COF Records, and in vinyl version by Fragile Branch Recordings in the US and Vendetta Records, 7Degrees Records, and Shove Records across Europe.


RingMaster 10/02/2015

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Atriarch – Forever The End

With an oppressive and consuming mass of dark heavy rhythms and a nightmarish entanglement of black melodies and sounds, Portland blackened death rock metalers Atriarch with their debut album Forever The End out August 23rd via Seventh Rule Recordings do more than just bring sounds to  fill the ear. With their approx 37 minute long four track release the band induces reaction to its sounds, inspiring thoughts and feelings from and about its dark soul searching world.   

  Forever The End bleeds feelings of grief, death, black despair and bleak hollow lives which for many will be an echo of their worlds, some will find it in some way consoling whilst others an unsettling reminder. That is the power of Atriarch, their songwriting, and the resulting album. Forever The End should not be mistaken for a thoroughly depressive release but certainly it does not engage and play within the brightest of lights preferring to share its sentiment and thoughts cloaked in thick black shadows. Despite the heaviness of emotion that permeates within the release the tracks on Forever The End do not physically assault the senses, instead they stealthily invade and share their intensive sadness and despair on the back of intelligent gothic flavoured shadowed melodies and hooks.  

The songs within Forever The End are strongly varied and carry many apparent but undefined flavours and influences that hint rather than state, though as one listens it is not hard to have thoughts of bands that the music suggests such as Burzum, Swans, Christian Death, early Cure, Wire, and Bauhaus. An eclectic variety of sources though none are a predominate taste with Atriarch’s music and one would probably find each listener would come up with their own individual selection of names they hear.

As stated the tracks are nicely diverse within the songwriting and sound but it must be said that under the over whelming dark blanket of emotional clouds they can at times pass by without notice unless a focused concentration is applied, but then again that is part of the pleasure of repeat listens, finding more elements deep within a song or piece of music. The tracks ‘Plague’ with its absorbing droning black grind over slow collapsing rhythms and ‘Shadows’ with some wonderful haunting melodic breakdowns mid track under its imposing smothering dark, are fine examples, given more indepth  attention and one finds very rewarding creativity within them.

As said there is a pleasing gothic touch and blackness to parts of the album especially in ‘Fracture’ and the throaty bass fuelled closer ‘Downfall’. It recalls more the gothic bands of the eighties like the aforementioned Bauhaus plus the likes of Sisters Of Mercy and in some ways Joy Division rather than any modern versions but placed in the unique attack of Atriarch the flavour is just an elegant finery draped over their own imposing creation of sounds.

   Forever The End is a strong expressive and very satisfying album and impending concentrated attention and respect will be a definite from many quarters for its crawling slow tempos and dark atmosphere. The cloak of  similarity that does covers one track to another making it at times  not easy to realise a track had become the next song unless one listens with focused intent does not prevent the release from being one of the freshest and striking albums release so far this year. The album is very strong and brought with great quality and creativity making it a definite add to anyone’s to checkout list for all seeking and enjoying the darker expressive areas of music.

RingMaster 20/08/2011

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