Abysmal Grief - Blasphema Secta
Sun & Moon Records
Doom Metal
6 songs (45' 11")
Release year: 2018
Reviewed by Andy

Fresh from Sun & Moon Records' tiny but well-worth-investigating catalog, Abysmal Grief's latest horror-themed doom metal LP is sound-effect-ridden film-worship of the Acid Witch school, though they've been doing it much longer and accomplish it in a more subtle way. Filled with gothic horror motifs straight out of a low-budget Italian movie, it manages to sound about thirty years older than it actually is.

A good deal of the atmosphere is provided by the near-omnipresence of the organ, which not only has plenty of solo performances of its own, but also whines in the background behind the half-whispered vocals of frontman Labes C. Necrothytus. Unlike the over-the-top chugging of the Razorback death-doom bands, the guitars don't take over the mix, sharing equal billing with the vocals and organ, and the pace of the music is more walk than crawl. Mr. Necrothytus is too quiet and too far in the background to be extremely memorable, though he adds enough to the atmosphere to get the listener's attention; the rest is completed by hushed chants and operatic background arias. When Darkness Prevails consists of nothing but these, and loses nothing in the absence of the vocals and of the occasionally rather repetitive guitar riffs.

If the band's purpose was to demonstrate how creepy-sounding Renaissance instruments can be when used properly, they go a long way towards succeeding with Blasphema Secta. They also cover medieval black metal influences Evol on Witchlord, in which Necrothytus puts more harshness in his vocals than usual to give it an authentic blackened sheen. The band occupies an uncertain place here. Too harsh for traditional doom, too soft for black metal, the album is neither the one nor the other, but it would make for a good horror movie soundtrack.

Killing Songs :
Witchlord, When Darkness Prevails
Andy quoted 72 / 100
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