ReviewI've decided to dedicate a whole week to doom. To that end, every post this week will be related to the doom specialty label Totalrust.
Abysmal Darkening is a Dutch doom metal band on Totalrust. Their debut full-length No Light Behind . . . comes eight years after the band's formation. In the simplest terms, their sound is sort of like Celtic Frost covering Black Sabbath, with some blackened touches. Not many bands have successfully incorporated tremolo riffing into a doom template, but you'll find just that on nearly every track here.
The album opens on a riff that recalls the intro to "Symptom of the Universe", but thankfully it doesn't turn out to be a sonic recycling bin. This doom plods ominously--even when the guitars are in tremolo mode--and only occasionally speeds up for a satisfying crescendo. There is also a healthy respect for dissonance, but just enough to be an accent and keep you on edge.
What really stands out on the album are the vocals. They remind me of the slower tracks from Dark Fortress's Morean, but the emotive qualities here leave the German in the dust. These truly sound like the paranoid ramblings of a madman, obsessed with "Marian", predicting nuclear winter.
The Verdict: Some bands' take on doom hardly seems as dreadful as the genre name suggests. Abysmal Darkening have a stranglehold on dread. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.