With a name like The Abyss, one would have to assume that The Other Side and Summon the Beast would have to be the work of none other than Peter Tagtgren right? Well, that is absolutely correct, as this mid-90's black metal project from Tagtgren, named after his famous Abyss Studios, offers up a different alternative from the death metal of Hypocrisy and the gothic/industrial metal he serves up with Pain. These two releases, from 1994 and 1996, are now part of this 2 on 1 CD compilation and remastered courtesy of the folks at Metal Mind Productions. The band features Tagtgren on drums, bass, and vocals (that's right, no guitar from Peter here), Mikael Hedlund on guitar & vocals, and Lars Szoke on guitars & vocals as well. Yes, those of you that have followed Hypocrisy for many years will notice that this was basically one of the early Hypocrisy line-ups, here with some members switching instruments and playing in a manic, old-school black metal style.
The obvious influence of Bathory, Hellhammer (the band even do a pretty clever, 'full speed ahead' cover of Hellhammer's "Massacra" here), Mayhem, Immortal, and Dark Funeral are all over these two releases, so expect plenty of manic, tremelo picked guitar riffs, blazing blast beats, and an enless barrage of garbled, black metal shrieks. When the band goes from blazing, frenzied black metal to a slower, almost doomy dirge on "Morkrets vandring", things really heat up and show that this trio has plenty to offer. That icy cold feel that only acts from Norway or Sweden can seem to successfully achieve (these lads are from the latter) can be heard in full force on the excellent "Sorgens dal" and the textured and quite mysterious "Slukad", but if it's raw, primal, old school styled Scandinavian black metal you crave, look out for the brutal tracks "Satans majestic empire" , "Blessed with the wrath of evil", and the crushing "Cursed", all examples of how authentic this band could get. In fact, all of the tracks on the second half of the CD (making up the Summon the Beast album) are just dazzling displays of raw & brutal black metal, sounding more like a band that came out of the original scene in Norway than a trio of death metal Swedes looking to do a black metal project.
Hard to knock these two releases, especially if you love old school styled black metal. The guitar work, drums, and vocals are all top notch, and the material overall is very brutal and has that classic feel to it. Sadly, these were to be the only two recordings of original material from the band, as Hypocrisy and Pain became Tagtgren's bread and butter. Metal Mind's reissue is somewhat bare bones-the booklet has artwork but no photos or lyrics, but there is an essay about the band and the digipack is very eye catching. As for the sound, most fans like this sort of thing raw, and raw it is, though there's plenty of clarity on the remaster. Black metal fans-fall into 'the abyss' and definitely check this one out if you didn't scoop up these two releases back in the day.
2.Tjanare af besten
8.Forintelsens tid aro kommen
9.Satans majestic empire
10.Blessed with the wrath of evil
12.Summon the beast
15.Feasting the remains of heaven