Sunday, May 24, 2015

Get Your Hammer...

Abysmal Grief / Runes Order - Split (2015)

This split brings together two Italian doom metal bands (oh, and it's on Italian Doom Metal Records), with the quartet of Abysmal Grief providing the A-side, and the duo of Runes Order on B-side duty.  Abysmal Grief's side, "Hymn of the Afterlife", opens with a very atmospheric vibe, with church-bells tolling, muffled chanting, and the sound of an organ droning over it all; heavy bass provides an interruption to the rites, creating an entry-point for the rest of the band's metal to invade and corrupt the established order.  The chants become more solemn, a demonic voice emerges to rumble and hiss, and the organ shifts to more insidious keyboarding while the drums continue their dirge-like pacing.  The effect is near-hypnotic at times, thanks to the steady rise and fall of the elements overlapping each other, and the whole thing would go quite well as the basis for a short horror film.
Runes Order's side, though also a single track, is sectioned into five acts, beginning with "Join the Convent" and proceeding through "Snuff the Nun", "The Witch Nun", "Electroshock Torture", and "Pray!".  A simple drone forms the base, expanded into additional keyboards and synth pulsing before heavier hits and the vocals arrive, and with the measured handling of the pieces, like Abysmal Grief's track, it covers itself in the sensations of a witchy giallo-like horror film, though with more of a hallucinatory aspect.
The record has a 500-copy run (200 on grey vinyl, 300 on standard black), so for fans of dark soundscapes, it's certainly worth checking in on before they become unavailable.  If you're willing to sit down with the record in a darkened room and give it a fair chance at the moodiness, odds are good that you'll get some tingling along your spine.
~ Gabriel

For Fans Of;    Evoken, Amort, Goblin, Sutekh Hexen, Factrix


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