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Haunted Cenotaph: Abyssal Menace

This album appeared back in December 2020, but I’ve returned to it often enough that I wanted to write about it. What originally drew my attention to the album was the opening track, “The Music of Erich Zann,” because it is also the name of an H. P. Lovecraft story. That story, one of Lovecraft’s personal favorites, tells of an old viol player whose music somehow connects with powers beyond human understanding. One of the coolest passages in the story says that “Zann’s screaming viol now outdid itself, emitting sounds I had never thought a viol could emit.” Things grow worse and, eventually, the narrator flees into the night, frightened and overwhelmed. This band’s take on the story is a short instrumental played mostly on the synthesizer. It captures a bit of the menace and mystery of the story but does very little to introduce the band’s overall sound.

Things really get going on “Cursed Abomination,” a mid-tempo crusher that sets up the musical style that makes up the rest of the album. As listeners will quickly realize, Haunted Cenotaph clearly loves their 90s death metal. The music, built on the simple combination of the riff, the beat, and the growl, is dark, straightforward, and powerful. Each track moves forward like a tank readying for attack, powerful and sure of its target. For some listeners, the long journey to that target may wear them out. But for those who just want to hear the sludgy rumbling of riffs making their way endlessly should find it all very satisfying. I did.

For a good taste of the band’s style, check out the title track or “Cursed Abomination” or “Miasmatic Malodour.” “Funeral Candles” picks up the pace a little more before settling back into a mid-tempo march. It also has a cool opening riff. If you like any of those tracks, stick around for the rest. I was especially fond of the album’s closer, “Seed of Belial.”

Since this is the band’s first album, it will be interesting to see what they decided to do next. I’d like to hear more of what they already do well. I love this style of music and I thought Haunted Cenotaph played it effectively and with the right amount of power and drive.

Track Listing:
1. The Music of Erich Zann
2. Cursed Abomination
3. Rotten Existence
4. Miasmatic Malodour
5. Abyssal Menace
6. Funeral Candles
7. Seed of Belial

Added: March 3rd 2021
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Bandcamp Page
Hits: 901
Language: english

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