Thursday, September 27, 2012

Abysme: Strange Rites (2012)


Guest review by Patrick, proprietor of Beards, Etc.

Abysme are a Pittsburgh-based death metal act releasing their full-length debut this month. I was unfamiliar with the band, but as I had heard their vocalist's work with Funerus, I had at least an inkling of what to expect.

It's odd how rarely anybody points this out, but "old school" covers a lot of different sounds within the death metal spectrum. I mention that because what I like about Abysme is that they manage to sound old school without allowing themselves to be trapped by any one of those styles. There are times when this band sounds straight out of Sweden circa 1990, but they also make numerous forays into Autopsy-esque death/doom territory or just straight Florida-style death. This works well because, even though you don't really hear specifically new sounds, you hear familiar components stitched together in a new way.

The musicianship is all rock solid, though not especially outstanding. The riffs are good, if not terribly unique, and the guitar tone varies but again stays within familiar territory. The drumming is effective, not blisteringly fast but perfectly adequate for its purposes. The bass is audible on some tracks, where it mostly just provides a good meaty foundation for the guitar to build on, which is the most one can really expect from the bass in a death metal album anyway. It does come out more in the slow sections, as there are some deep, borderline breakdowns that crop up from time to time. The vocals are good solid death metal fare that don't disappoint, but they don't really jump out and grab you either.

All in all, this is a good release. It wanders around the yard enough to keep from feeling like a clone of any particular band, but it never takes its chances by straying beyond the fence either. I enjoyed the record, and since they are still a pretty new act I'm hopeful that with some time to develop the band will take more chances and push some boundaries. For the time being, they've presented an enjoyable album that is worth checking out if you have the time and money to do so, but it's not essential listening by any means.

The Verdict: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Hellthrasher Productions

1 comment:

  1. I quite enjoyed that track, especially the punky drum break in the middle.