Most old school Metal fans have developed a PTSD-based cringe response whenever someone says “old school.” The words evoke the new terrain uncovered by underground Metal bands in the 1980s and 1990s, not so much musically as psychologically. Thus not much can compare, and we tense up when we hear someone refer to a band as being from that genre as most of them are pale imitations. However, Abscession makes a plausible case for inclusion because they understand the Death Metal way of composing. Where ordinary Swedish Death Metal can be imitated by stringing together horror movie soundtracks played on guitar over a d-beat for choruses contrasted to verses of chromatic rhythm riffs in a sped-up Black Sabbath/Motorhead style, Abscession understands that what makes a Swedish Death Metal band worth listening to is that it ties these riffs together. And so each of these three songs is like a small story, or drama, in that riffs change in emotionally significant ways. They abuse the buzzsaw guitar sound to make compelling rhythm riffs, then drop into longer melodic riffs like the first At the Gates and second Entombed albums combined, and finally break up that easy pattern. Dramatic events happen in this music in such a way that the order is interrupted, and must be re-negotiated through more riffcraft to return to a balance. Even though this is an eleven-minute EP, it delivers much of the power of the original Swedish Death Metal masters by adhering to this simple principle: content defines form. In addition, these guys are proficient musicians and had the wit to release this as a demo with a free download at Abscession’s bandcamp site.
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Thanks to our old friend Brett Stevens for this excellent guest review!
Be sure to check out his work at http://www.deathmetal.org
I got about a third of the way through and thought “hell, this reads like a DMU review”...great to see my two favorite extreme music sites working together!
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