A note to all aspiring Funeral Doom bands: covering Skepticism will get you noticed. At the very least it’ll make me want to hear you. When it comes to the art of Funeral Doom, Skepticism —alongside fellow Finnish masters Shape of Despair— is as good as it gets, and I can’t say I would’ve had the same level of interest in Theomorphic Defectiveness had the album-closing cover of “March October” not caught my eye. First and foremost, it lets us know we’re most likely dealing with a Funeral Doom band —so many different kinds of Doom out there, don’t wanna accidentally get some of that happy faggot Doom— and furthermore, it’s assurance that the band in question is aware of the good shit — no seeds and stems, just the sticky icky. Unfortunately in the case of Russia’s Abstract Spirit, it’s arguably false advertising. Yes, this trio most certainly plays Funeral Doom, and without question the haunting, desolate presence of Skepticism’s influence permeates beyond the cover alone, but as I’ve said many times before, this is the toughest style of extreme music to pull off. It’s difficult for a musician to play at a pace slower than his/her own pulse —which is almost always elevated by the act of performing— and to do it as consistently and excessively as the genre demands requires a level of men-who-stare-at-goats concentration. Abstract Spirit has the hard part down. Their tempo is morbidly ominous yet graceful, the feeling of hovering through the ether like an apparition successfully achieved. But within that weighty framework, often their songs desperately lack anything to latch onto. There’s virtually zero memorability factor, and with such lengthy, lugubrious tracks, that usually equals sleep. To his credit, A.K. iEzor’s deep, guttural growl is all-pro slo-mo throughout, but minus the Doomgasm reached from 7:47-8:42 on the 13-minute opening title track and the glacial string-bending that opens the aptly titled “Under Narcoleptic Delusions,” there isn’t much going on musically that begs for repeated listens. Luckily that does not hold true for the aforementioned cover. Just a flawlessly executed, spot-on rendition of Skepticism’s classic second cut from the Alloy record. So brilliantly reenacted, it makes the lagging doldrums of their original material all the more puzzling. Clearly they have the tools and a wealth of potential far from fully realized. With Theomorphic Defectiveness, Abstract Spirit have designed their own measuring stick, marking where they are now and where they might someday be. As always, time will tell.
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