AbyssgaleIt’s always a sign that a label is doing good things when they send in several cd’s and after giving them a spin and finding myself playing them right through that I want to keep them all. The latest batch from Belgium label Immortal Frost Productions were a case in point. Of course that would not be at all fair to other writers so I made my choice and plumped for Greek blacksters Abyssgale amidst tough competition. The reason why I went with this was probably part due to the no bullshit attitude of the band. The album blasts in without any hint of an intro, goes straight off like the clappers and does not down tools in the slightest until it finishes 40 minutes later. Also it’s a debut album and has just been put out by the label following a limited 150 edition cassette only release on Razorblade Productions early 2014.

There seems to be more and more good bands coming out the Greek underground of late and Abyssgale including a bassist who also plays in Dodsferd are no exception. As ‘Execution Litany’ pounds in with some hefty blasting and thorny guitar work it sets itself up perfectly for an exhilarating ride. Vocals from Godium are suitably coarse and raspy and the twin guitar work is one of the albums many defining points drenching things in a really rampant sense of melody. It’s fast chugging, fist-pounding, head-banging action commanded here, it also sounds like they have spent quite some time perfecting things and getting everything sounding just right.

Another plus point is that this does not have me off on a box ticking exercise comparing to other bands. The group have a good sense of their own identity here and just dig in and get down to flinging out one track of good, punishing, fast and speedy black metal track after another. The title track has some black thrashing motifs about it and surges forward with some dextrous windmilling riffs as the vocals suitably croak out the words “Monstrous God, your harsh voice croaks and oozes out the shadows.” Tracks flow neatly into each other making this all the more of an exercise of constant rabid, flurrying action. There are eight of them here and nothing is extended beyond a natural life span, or that’s how it feels and things do not outstay their welcome in the slightest. I think the guitar melody that grandiosely looms out of ‘Anoint Wounds With Poison’ makes the track a particular highlight for me. As it builds with savage buzzsaw tones and grates and grinds away it really does make those bloody wounds open up and the track just gets more and more virulent as it forges ahead. Things just seem to intensify as things go on, Anileo has the same sort of contagious, disease and decimating spread to it as I found in the recent Lord Mantis album. There’s something quite foul about it but again the superior melodies glisten and glimmer through with some great guitar sound from the otherwise beefy production. Ok so there is a bit of an ambient break between this and the next track but believe you me by now you are going to need a break before your head falls off your shoulders.

There is a bit of a Rotting Christ vocal bark to Altar Thane Of Mental Alienation but I blame myself partly for thinking this and no doubt may not have done unless the band were Greek. The stealthy stalk at start is forgotten as this again flies away and blasts off hell for leather again. There are some creepy atmospheric parts though and the band do prove they can slow things down momentarily without damage to their overall modus operandi. And there we have it as things storm away through another three numbers until the end. I love it when a band comes out of nowhere and really impresses and that’s exactly the case here. Bearing in mind when this material was actually recorded I have to hope they must be almost ready to unleash a second attack, I can’t wait to hear it on the strength of this.

(8/10 Pete Woods)