Saturday, August 27, 2011

Abyssgale - The Coming Plague EP (2006)

It's unfortunate that its members have not done more with the band, because Abyssgale has something somewhat unique to offer on the Greek landscape, a dense and fevered hybrid of textured Swedish style black metal (Watain comes to mind) and a few furious d-beat aesthetics. For an independent release, The Coming Plague sounds like the precursor to a promising stint: it's fusion stemming from a pair of popular sounds, with pretty high production values compared to the band's peers. I won't say that there's a lot of replay value, and the riffs do occasionally come off stagnant and familiar, with vicious vocals that are all too standard for the genre. But as a first offering, it at least curries some favorable potential. The question is, with the involvement of various personnel in Dodsferd, Nadiwrath and other underground sects, will anything more even come of this?

All four of the tracks on the EP hover around the 4 and a half minute mark, with opener "Signs of Decay" probably the strongest. Tight drumming and barreling, thick riffs alternate between muscled faster sequences and even a slower, bouncing breakdown redolent of modern Slayer. They build simple but effective enough riffs and stick to them, and sadly there are few if any surprises manifest in their depths, but the solid mix of the material marginally compensates. The next track, "Process into the Abyss" brings in the d-beat, rocking element, but it accelerates into some standard black blasting with forceful, dissonant melodies spat over the framework. The other tunes, "Infected Winds of Creation" and "Enthroning the Disease" have more atmospheric breakdowns, which offer some shelter from the pretty bland war-blast patterns that lead into them, but again, none of the riffs are quite infectious enough to endure in the listener's ear.

Ultimately, The Coming Plague is more a curiosity of style than substance, but the roots are firm enough that better riffing could conjure remarkable results. If you've heard drummer Maelstrom in another of his bands, the Dosdferd side project Nadiwrath, then you'll hear a few of the subtle punk and d-beat influences taken to bear further fruit. In fact, Nihilistic Stench is quite a better album than what pans out on this 18 minute excursion into violence, but with further development along the songwriting axis, Abyssgale might have had some legs to stand upon. A great band name, effectively grim cover art, and an approach not common among the Greeks, but with six years now passed on no further releases, the future of this project is anyone's guess.

Verdict: Indifference [6/10]

No comments: