Seemingly at rest for the past eight years, Australia’s satanic warmongers Abominator rise again. ‘Evil Proclaimed’ is their fifth album in a career which began way back in 1994. My only previous encounter with them was the second disc ‘Subversives for Lucifer’ which, for a few seconds in 2001, distracted from the recent demise of Angelcorpse. (It didn’t take long before my opinion changed and the repetitious ‘Subversives…’ was launched the way of a second-hand record shop.) With this experience in mind then, it came as a surprise to check out a snippet of the band’s comeback album online. Instead of the blunt clamouring fury I recalled, this latest creation of Chris Volcano and Andrew Undertaker exhibited clear dynamic shifts and a punchy, evil production.
And as you get into the album, these impressions are very much reinforced by opener ‘Black Mass Warfare’. It’s a blast-driven slab with plenty of variation due to riffs which contract back and forth – like a warped tape – and vocals that imperiously crack the rhythmic haze. Overall it sounds less mindlessly frantic, more controlled and frankly much better than the aforementioned sophomore effort. ‘The Brimstone Nucleus’ also displays this new found balance of premeditation and frenzy to Abominator’s approach; a facet necessarily elevated by the excellent production, which the band justifiably describes as their “burliest ever”. On the downside, it’s also not long at all into the album before those familiar repetitive traits begin creeping in. As early as the title track (the third on the disc), it’s as if the very same riffs and drum patterns are piling out once again. Aside from ‘interchangeable’, perhaps the best word to describe events is ‘incessant’. In certain contexts this description may be considered complimentary but when it comes to Abominator, it’s definitely not.
For the most part, all that can be hoped for is the odd aside to relieve the unending, one-dimensional attack. The title track has a solo section around the two-and-a-half minute mark which deviates a bit, while elsewhere a few effective shifts in tempo liven up the pummelling blackened death on ‘Ashes of a Demonic Legacy’. Such instances will no doubt get the infernal hordes’ blood boiling, and yet another worth mentioning is the garbled insanity of ‘The Devil’s Pandemonium’ in which I’m sure Chris Volcano at one point commands us to “Drink the wine!” One of the better tracks is ‘Invoker of the Four Winds’ in which caustic, feral riffs burst out alongside Volcano’s drums at their most precisely abused. The mental solos which accompany all this represent a slight escalation in extremity of Abominator’s sound – one which they would do well to explore in the future – but at the end of the day it’s still not much to get excited about. And there’s no real surprise or variation to the record’s end: just blackened death metal churned out in the same fashion again and again…
By the time the burning sound which opened the album returns at the very end of closer ‘Re-birth of the Arch Nemesis’, it’s less a sense of having gone full-circle than it is a compounding act of deja-vu. Without exaggerating, the uniformity and incessant style of Abominator makes it feel like I’ve been listening to the same track for the last thirty-eight-and-a-half minutes. Unlike the type of bands who might intentionally pull off such a feat, Abominator’s unintentional end result fails to captivate beyond patches. Naturally previous fans of the band will be unaffected by reactions such as mine but I would recommend approaching this only if you worship the most belligerently infernal of the infernal. Otherwise, save your cash.