Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Abacinate - Genesis (2011)

Abacinate are a rare breed in that they've managed to combine the traditional, brutal US death style with the medium of huge hardcore grooves and not come away annoying the listener. They've got more than their share of technical ability, and you'll hear this as the guitarists Todd Stern and Dan Higgins weave their way through a plethora of riffs, but the real draw is their street level presence. This is felt through the blunt instrument of the vocals, and the persistent use of urban samples to create what I might dare to label 'gangsta death metal'. I know, I know, it sounds like something that should in no way possibly succeed, and yet in the hands of these hungry New Jersey menaces, it works as intended, especially when one takes into account the loss of 'Plunger' Sica, the vocalist, who passed away last September, and is immortalized through this very record.

Now, there are some points on the album where Abacinate lapse into an all too generic, chugging mosh strut (like "The Natural Disasters" Earth Crisis-like breakdown, between the better riffs), but other tracks like "Night of the Desirable Objects" and "Purveyors of Scum" deliver them as if Madball and Biohazard were jamming with Skinless. The latter even has a massive, Pantera-styled death groove in the closing moment, and yet it's all quite seamless. Further examples are the fine instrumentals "Laughing in the Dark" parts I and II, where the band cycles from progressive, stoner/concrete groove hooks into melodic whittling, both easily surviving the lack of vocal presence due to the great guitars; or the mechanical chug death of "An American Obsession", to which I feel it almost impossible to stand still, despite the primacy of its knuckles-first composition. One can merely close the eyes and envision the misspent youth in their masculine windmills of violence, letting out their aggression on fellow dancers and unsuspecting crowd-goers both. An image I usually find annoying, but strangely poignant here.

Abacinate might catch some flak for their rather broad palette of styles, but regardless there's something here for a lot of listeners, whether you prefer gut stomping, semi technical death metal or tough guy antics. There is something quintessentially East Coast and American about this act, sort of similar to the band Burning Human but with a wider range of to explore. There are few if any perfect songs found on Genesis, but each has some modicum of charm, in particular to those listeners with the appropriate level of steam to blow off. Charm like a tire iron throwdown, and not at all expected.

Verdict: Win [7.25/10]


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