What’s going to make this review weird for me, is that there are only 5 songs, but the album is nearly an hour and a half long, with a couple songs over 20 minutes and the shortest approaching 9, meaning I’ve got to say a lot about a little for a lengthy time. Formed in 1997 as Abyssic Dreams by vocalist/guitarist/bassist Memnock and drummer Athera, however the band was side-lined as they focused on Susperia. In 2012, Memnock revived the band as Abyssic with fellow Susperia guitarist Elvorn, and André Aaslie taking care of keyboards and orchestration and in February 2016 they recorded the début album ‘A Winter’s Tale’ with Asgeir Mickelson on drums and guitar. Now for their second album they have Tjodalv and Makhashanah on drums and bass/vocals respectively.
I’m quickly struck by the gentle way the slow keyboards and heavy but lethargic guitars are joined by the orchestral instruments during “Adornation” before the drums finally get a chance to speed up three-quarters of the way in and the slow longish death growls are sustained almost as long as the keyboard chords.
Sustaining the sluggish pace of the guitars and vocals, but having the piano tinkering away at an allegro gives “High The Memory” a different feel, until even the keys slow down and the ponderous drums keep time at the funereal pace of molasses but the violins still manage to give it a touch of levity that the piano can expand upon as the song meanders along, and boy does it meander.
“Transition Consent” has a constant ticking of the kick drum at twice the pace of anything else, but it’s the horn section accompaniment that adds the ominous tone required to make the song more sombre and gloomier.
The whimsical keyboards ebb and flow on “Where My Pain Lies”, while they drums and guitars occasionally alter the pace to change the mood of the song, albeit only slightly. And Makhashanah’s eerie female whispers easily make your skin crawl with their haunting quality.
They wrap up the album with the much more aggressive and faster “Dreams Become Flesh”, but even that has its mellow ethereal refrains and passages as it wends its way towards its conclusion.
This album was awesome to listen to last week when it was all grey and miserable and snowing, as the long songs did not drag on when I was just listening to it, but when reviewing it, it feels like the songs never end and you want to make sure you don’t leave out any detail. Nevertheless, I think this album is better experienced than written about. So go give it a listen and enjoy.
(8/10 Marco Gaminara)