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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Abstracter: Tomb of Feathers

Never has being viciously brutalised been so satisfying as from the debut album from US metalers Abstracter. Tomb of Feathers, their three track forty minute betrayal of sonic sanity, is an unrelenting corruption of heart stopping, senses blowing malevolence. It crushes and melts synapses through its trio of mesmeric yet corrosive scarring soundscapes, its legacy provoked thoughts and eager submissive allegiance.

Abstracter is a quartet from Oakland, California, friends with the same musical intent and view on the world which drives and stalks their sound. They create a destructive mix of sludge, hardcore punk, crust, and doom metal with much more adding to the black heart of the results. The tracks which make up Tomb of Feathers are enveloping consumptions which mesmerise and destroy simultaneously, their far reaching touch provoking and evoking. Influenced by the likes of Amebix, Swans, Bathory, Godflesh, and Disembowelment, the band vent their anger and hate, disgust and venom through the three massive landscapes of noise and aggression which evolve without ever showing mercy and enthral whilst stripping the senses of safety.

The album is a concept album with the single theme of madness and mental disease resulting from ‘the extreme and cynical individualism that permeates the world, and humanity’s cowardly tendency to constantly leave the weak behind.’From the opening Walls That Breathe through to the closing track the release wears its anger openly and permeates every note and syllable with its loathing. The first track opens with the beginning sounds of a raging storm but it is merely the lull, the emerging guitars leading one into the oncoming ferocity with heated skill. Once inside the oppressive presence of the track, it bears down heavily with spiteful guitar intrusions and firm rhythms whilst vocal harmonies spark the shadows. Soon guttural growls spear the raised intensity and predator like grooves whilst the track overall explores and rages within the head, its intent challenging and testing ones resolve and thoughts wonderfully. It is not an easy listen, as with the following pair, but certainly is one of the most rewarding.

The following To Vomit Crows is the pinnacle of the album, a mightily stunning track and one of the best to emerge within extreme metal for quite a while. Immediately churning riffs cast their abrasive strokes across the ear, soon multiplying as the raptorial bass joining the fray. There is an early Killing Joke bruising to the sound which soon turns into a fire of primal ravenous energy as the song seeks out and brands every inch of the senses and mind. It is magnificent, its hungry sonic energised crawl driven by ear rapping beats, a caustic lashing to smart and drool from. Thirteen minutes long it never outstays its welcome, though neither do the other pair, and through its distorted breath, sonic savagery, and twisting malicious ambience makes every second the richest.

The final track Ashes is no less impactful, the slowly building and lumbering intensity a perpetual drain on ones energy and emotion, its ignited flaming rub annihilatory. The song completes what is a formidable and staggering release which surely marks the beginning of towering things for Abstracter.

Self produced and funded, Tomb of Feathers released digitally via The Path Less Traveled Records with a physical release to follow, is a giant of an album and though arguably it offers nothing widely new in sound, it creates a fresh and explosive new fissure within extreme metal.


RingMaster 18/09/2012

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