Tuesday 3 February 2015

Abstracter - Wound Empire (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 10/2/2015
Label: Sentient Ruin Laboratories

“Wound Empire” CS//DD//LP Tracklisting:

1. Lightless
2. Open Veins
3. Cruciform
4. Glowing Wounds


Abstracter is a musical force to be reckoned with and hail out of Oakland, CA. They bring a breath of fresh air to a heavily flooded “Post Metal” market, which is home to a long list of great bands already.  This blackened mass of malice began in 2010 and released ‘Tomb of Feathers’, with ‘Wound Empire’ set for release later this month. The entire album flows seamlessly in and out of a veil of darkness and the pits of corrosive dystopia.

‘Lightless’ begins like a lurking figure waiting to claw its way within the very depths of consciousness and reason, turning light upon itself. An ominous and controlled wall of feedback builds tension with discordant notes from picking the strings of the guitars headstock. Heavy drones are layering and washing in and out, beckoning for the listener to venture closer. Mid paced tempo drives this song forward with vocals that perfectly compliment the music, all the while having a demanding presence. There are some Blackened elements flowing in and out of the weighty driving drones, giving great diversity and dynamics. There are moments where the drums disappear allowing you to flow with the beautifully mind-numbing riffs.

‘Open Veins’ begins with an interlude, a melodic single note chord picking, layered over thick and brooding guitar and bass, setting a very debilitating melancholy mood. The kind of mood that is reminiscent of plotting your own demise. Through the dark haze grows the uncertainty and anger, as if this is actually going to happen or not. The sheer weight of these riffs, invoke an array of emotions for me, like that of controlled rage that is hanging on by a thread. Throaty slow vocals, comparable to that of Downfall of Gaia, mix perfectly into this bleak tonal mastery.  ‘Cruciform’ continues the albums decent into wretchedness and pain. Slow and plodding with controlled feedback and heavy riffs, keeping you in waiting, then crashing down with sonic obliteration. This crushing moment is kept alive with added tension right on its tail with more blackened elements, and then quickly swallowed by consuming crushing chugging riffs. ‘Cruciform’ is constantly on the move in aggressiveness and feel, of which I can only equate to moments of rapid bi-polar cycling, but well worth the ride.

Finishing out this 40+ minute soul crushing album is ‘Glowing Wound’. Ethereal vocals with heavy reverb sing out over very pensive yet soothing tones. Melodic layered guitar work floods over the levee that is already about to give way. But it all comes caving in, no matter how hard you struggle. Tension upon unrelenting tension, surfacing and burying all within its path, until its final crescendo of feedback; then dead silence, like lost hope at the end of a smoking barrel.

From start to finish, this album screams attention for its fluency and superb song writing.  A canvas so dark and inviting, slowly enticing the listener into an unsettled place of resolve for the moments to come in their lives. This darkness that surrounds us all is apparent throughout ‘Wound Empire’, and with music as crushing and emotionally crippling as this, there is no need for a band of this calibre to be flying under the radar whatsoever. Like I said earlier, ‘Wound Empire’ is bleak tonal mastery!

Words by: Eric Crowe

On February 10th, 2015, Wound Empire will be made available on 12" vinyl LP through Fragile Branch Recordings (US), Vendetta Records (EU/DE), 7Degrees Records (EU/DE) and Shove Records (EU/IT), on CD by COF Records (formerly known as Church Ov Fuck - UK), on cassette tape co-released by Sentient Ruin in collaboration with An Out Recordings, and digitally again through Sentient Ruin. For the LP, there will be 600 copies pressed; of which 500 will be pitch black and 100 on clear wax with black and grey haze. The CD will be in an edition of 100 hand-assembled, four-panel, gatefold, vinyl-styled cardboard jackets with a 6mm spine and insert. The tape will come in 100 units as a five-panel U-card in a clear Norelco box with a cardboard outer sleeve. 

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