Saturday, 23 May 2015

Abiotic - 'Casuitry' (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 21/04/2015
Label: Metal Blade Records

‘Casuistry’ CD//DD track listing:

01. Believe the Unseen
02. Reanimated Destruction
03. Cast into the Depths
04. Violent Scriptures
05. Nightmares of Your Conception
06. The Absence of Purity
07. Falling into Obscurity
08. Molecular Rematerialization
09. Drain. Deface. Abolish.

Abiotic is:

Travis Bartosek | Vocals
Johnathan Matos | Guitar
Matt Mendez | Guitar
Alex Vazquez | Bass
Brent Phillips | Drums


The sophomore release from this impressive tech-death outfit kicks off with a churning, chugging blast and a brutal scream, appropriate, considering the ride the album continues on after.  There are enough riffs on this record to satiate probably even a Necrophagist fan.

The production of the album is superb for the genre. Punchy, articulate, and clear without the instruments sounding so far apart sonically that it’s completely sterile. There are some sterile sounding moments but, it’s because the band decided to make it sound that way instead of being dictated by the production.

Spoiler Alert: There are SO many “OH SHIT” moments throughout this record.

The arrangements vary from brutal, chaotic, and dissonant to beautiful, and even a little catchy. The drumming accents the guitars (or vice versa in some of the cool beat division changes during a few riffs), with a lot of interesting approaches to maintaining a groove across odd measures and stylistically-contrasting riffs. Vocals are quite varied in tone from part to part and are pretty intelligible but well produced with some high/low layering used to good effect. It's pretty impressive when a metal vocalist manages convincingly several different voices.
And guitars and bass....holy shit, there is a density sonically to even the atonal-sounding single-note riffs and dissonant parts that can only be achieved when players have reached a hive mind. Rhythmically there is so many creative little turn-arounds and fills. Harmonically there is, of course, a lot of dissonance throughout the record, with some of my favorite moments being the riff beginning at 0:42 of ‘Cast Into the Depths’, whatever the weird little “whir” sound is during the opening of the first track, ‘Believe the Unseen’ (its literally like one 8th note and it sounds like a machine malfunctioning), and the sweet harmonized sixteenth note riff that kicks in at 1:04 of ‘Violent Scriptures’. There is some really beautiful lead guitar played over some pretty proggy chord progression in multiple places. I really like it when lead guitar is utilized equally for riffing and as a counterpoint as well as vocal-like melodies.  There is a fantastic combination of that here.

Overall, I think what really grabbed me sonically about his album though, and this is no detraction from the abilities of anyone else in the band, is the bass. The tone on the record is ridiculous and the performance is almost perfect. There is a section at 2:07 of ‘Nightmares of Your Perception’ that I had to back up and start over three times the first time I got to it, which I then had to do again for the solo about 38 seconds later in the same song. These guys don't JUST shred either, there is a plethora of down-tempo grooves perfect for moshing as well as lots of djently-placed headbanger sections.

This is a 5/5 record for Me! I think even my friends, who hate everything will like this record, A lot.  No sophomore record slump for these guys.

Words by: Ian Smedbron

‘Casuitry’ is available now

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