the_holeum_negativeabyssEight tracks about inner conflict: that’s what this debut album from The Holeum is. “Eight hard-hitting tracks” would perhaps be a better description. “Chemical Ghosts” is strong, moody, atmospheric, spooky and a drum beat which conveys the message that any living thing is no longer living. It’s war-like, post metal in a way but hard and dark, and with a resemblance to fellow Spaniards NahemaH but harsher. The scene is set.

The comparison with NahemaH, apart from “Cosmic Horror” which speaks for itself, was obsessing me, so I checked it out and sure enough, two of the members come from the now defunct band. The Holeum is not NahemaH mark II though. The mix of emotions is always there, starting normally with an impressively harsh atmosphere, but reaching out into sadness with the trumpet section towards the end of “Philosopher’s Stone” and the huge emotional heights of “Nuclear Mysticism”. But as I suppose the album’s title suggests, the world of extreme darkness seems to be where The Holeum are going. “Pictures of the Uncanny” begins with a mystical build-up and works into a state of extreme harshness. Where to go from there? In this case, it goes into an off key vocal – full marks for experimentation but not for delivery. “Omniverse” has the tone of a Cult of Luna track, stopping off for a bit of cosmic delicacy before reverting to the familiarly harsh world, which this album depicts. Sadness is invoked on “Vertical Parallel Infinites” by the trumpet which returns as accompaniment to a steady drum beat and lush instrumental line. The vocalist’s roars neutralise the soft sound, and the track builds up majestically. The blend of sounds is exotic – it’s not something we’ve heard much prior to this. “Vertical Parallel Infinites” is a musical feast. “Dystopia”, which ends the album, has a different feel: typically intense with added shades of menace and darkness.

I enjoyed this album. My only reservation with it was that at times it seeks to be unendingly furious and dark, which represent the theme, but it was only when those black clouds are split up and we enter emotional or shady heights, or moments of delicacy that I found “Negative Abyss” truly inspiring.

(7.5/10 Andrew Doherty)