Abyssal - A Beacon In The Husk review

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Band: Abyssal
Album: A Beacon In The Husk
Release date: June 2019

01. Dialogue
02. I - Recollection: Shapes Upon The Retina
03. I - Recollection: Awakening / Metamorphosis
04. II - Discernment: The Cloister Beneath The Grime
05. II - Discernment: Khyphotic Suzerains
06. II - Discernment: The Triumph Of Fools
07. III - Descent: We Who Beheld The Fall Of Axioms
08. III - Descent: A Beacon In The Husk
09. Soliloquy

In a sea of unoriginal, serviceable but nonetheless great OSDM, bands like Abyssal really know how to stick out.

Abyssal were pretty much another one of those dissonant cavernous Portal-core band until 2015's Antikatastaseis came and blew everyone away. It wasn't a massive departure from what they had already been doing but it did just enough right to create a sound clearly theirs to be told apart. And with such a long time since then, the longest we had to wait for a new Abyssal, it would be obvious that a lot of expectations would be placed on A Beacon In The Husk. Would it replicate the sound? Expand upon it? Change it?

The answer is that A Beacon In The Husk is a pretty multi-dimensional record for a caverncore one, much more so than its predecessor. The base of it is still that rotten OSDM taken to doomy and dissonant extremes and twisted into a chaotic formless behemoth, but it feels like it takes each part of the recipe and expands it even further. Dissonant atmospheres? Sure it's not as murky and cavernous as most of it, but the production makes the atmosphere feel so unique while not sacrificing the ugly "abyssal" heaviness that dominates the record. Doominess? Some of the songs, particularly the "Recolection" ones, let the chaotic riffs take a step back for a more droney take and even the other tracks always feel filtered through a colossally doomish lens. Chaos? The sound is so formless that you'll barely be able to tell apart a riff most of the time... uhh... in a good way. And to make things even better, some of the moments feel strangely melodic, mostly in the "Discernment" part.

If it wasn't obvious by now, A Beacon In The Husk is a highly atmospheric record, so a huge part of its appeal is how well that sound is built. And it wasn't something I was instantly sucked into, since the first time I played this album I was taken aback by how not murky it sounded, so I tried it again on another device and with another pair of headphones to make sure that the sound wasn't an accident. It took a while to get used to it sounding like that after being used to all of the murky death doom that prides itself in sounding like slime from the underworld, but Abyssal sounding so different forced me to pay attention to other details of their sound instead of just "it sounds heavy", which it still did. Slowly I eased into the sound and was able to appreciate the formless aspect of the music much more seamlessly. I though it would just be an issue with the opening track, but relistening to it now, it doesn't feel off anymore, but at first I did expect the difference in expectation to not let me enjoy the album to its fullest. Boy was I wrong.

Even with my initial production gripes, it was obvious that there's more than meets the eye on A Beacon In The Husk. Even the vocals who are usually in the same low growl mode, don't feel as one-dimensional as they should feel, but given how much they change through some of the most ambiental and chaotic moments, they really aren't even one-dimensional. Even though the guitars feel less into focus as opposed to a riff-focused OSDM, they still do so much to create that formless feeling of floating in the underworld while most of the actual non-ambient sound being made by the equally chaotic drumming. With each no listen I discover some intricacy in how some seemingly usual methods are used in such a way to expand an already colossal album. So much so that it simultaneously feels like the album is longer than it is, but that also the time passes faster than it does.

Aye, this is fucking massive. As much as I am curious how it would sound with the classic murky production, I love it for what it is. I listened to a lot of albums that used that production very well but I can't tell them apart to save my life. But there is only one Abyssal.


Written on 20.08.2019 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.

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