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Abyss: Heretical Anatomy

"The Music of Erich Zann," a short story by H. P. Lovecraft, tells of an aging viol player who can hear otherworldly melodies and tries to ward them off before losing his mind completely. Lovecraft often uses the theme of listening to suggest that there's more going on in the universe than we think. In fact, if we listen carefully, and if we are sensitive to things beyond our mortal perceptions, we might even hear the awful beating of black wings, the kind that belong to creatures impossible to imagine. Many have wondered what the music that Erich Zann heard actually sounded like. There's no way to know, of course, but many people have nevertheless turned their attention to creating music worthy of the author who was a master of weird fiction.

Abyss, a band hailing from Toronto, develops these kinds of themes within their music and they do so really well. Lovecraftian to the core, Abyss does not create adaptations of individual stories so much as develop a series of reflections—perhaps even invocations—of Lovecraft's Elder Gods and their destructive powers. My favorite track along those lines is "The Atonement." I also liked "Heretical Anatomy" and "Thrall of the Elder Gods," tracks capture what the mood of this album better than any other. Indeed, the music here lies completely under the spell of the weird; like one of Lovecraft's nervous and crazy narrators, the lyrics often consider the costs of forbidden knowledge and terrible insights.

Beyond the lyrics, the music combines black metal, death metal, and elements of punk rock. It's dark and gritty and proudly so. The album, produced by Joel Grind, bears a slight resemblance to Toxic Holocaust's latest release, but it wouldn't be fair to draw a close comparison. Abyss is not trying to do what Toxic Holocaust does. Abyss benefits from Grind's expertise, but this is a band with a vision and a direction all its own. And he makes the songs sound clean without losing that underground feel. The songwriting is also very good and demonstrates plenty of maturity and variety, both very good signs for a young band getting started. This is a strong debut, one worth a listen.

Track Listing:
1. Heretical Anatomy
2. The Atonement
3. Chained to Extinction
4. Flesh Cult
5. Prophecies of Churning Horror
6. Atavistic Decay
7. Thrall of the Elder Gods
8. Nightmares in Skin

Added: May 30th 2015
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 1659
Language: english

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