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Abstrakt – Uncreation

by Matt Bozenda at 07 April 2021, 11:36 AM

One thing plaguing the more technically gifted bands and musicians out there is the threat of ‘analysis paralysis’. Many a band have actually come to an end in the process of overthinking an album, or caused a change in personnel; at best, they release an album so thoroughly overdone it sets a low bar for the next one.

When it comes to Symphonic Black/Death Metal, which requires a lot of technical expertise to do well, the problem is typically one of layering. As for Helsinki’s own ABSTRAKT, they’ve put their considerable talents into the battle with their first full-length album in almost a decade, "Uncreation". The Finnish quartet has put as many as half a dozen and probably more layers into this particular onion, but the end result may leave the listener in tears.

Starting with a protracted introduction track in "Ex Vanitas", the song "From Chaos To Creation" really adds fuel to the fire, a good tune if a bit long. There is a whole lot to unpack with "Etherstorms", between the choral parts and symphonic keys with Black/Death and maybe even a little Thrash thrown in.

By the time you’ve heard "The Great Chasm Of Humanity", you may notice a trend; the masterful keyboard work is not fully in sync with the rest of the band, who sound like they need to catch up. That continues with "Prophet Of Fire", but with both songs, there are moments when the band is on the same step, and those moments are absolute gold.

The second half begins with "The Ascendant", a more symphonic interlude that, like many tracks before, goes on for a bit too long. "Inferno" gets things cooking again, changing the keyboard setting to an organ, but the Gothic sort of vibe it gives the song is too little to overcome the clashing of Symphonic Metal elements.

"Radiant Darkness" has the feel of a late-90’s CD-ROM, fresh off the soundtrack of some early-franchise horror game. JUDAS PRIEST fans may or may not be relieved to hear that "Screaming For Vengeance" is not a cover, and in fact has a lot of the same things going for it as the last song, but it somehow has an even more vintage flavor in it.

The album’s title track, closer, and longest at almost eight minutes, "Uncreation" is an ambitious project, a genuine roller coaster, and while it does deliver the band’s best effort, it ultimately misses the bull’s-eye.

Overall, "Uncreation" as an album is a mixture of good elements which simply do not come together here. It’s not that the guitars are bad, or the drums or the keys or anything else; the problem here is that they are all fighting for position, rather than working in harmony. If it weren’t for the mostly cohesive songwriting, one might wonder if they were even working in tandem.

So, ABSTRAKT might do a lot of good for themselves by working a little less. Some tracks have the unbridled power of an avalanche, which works against them here. Maybe it’s not so much about needing restraint, but “Uncreation” could use maybe a bit of brevity. The album is almost an hour long, and that’s downright torturous when not listening to a live recording or a compilation. Trim some fat and get everyone on the same page, and album three could be huge; they just need to let themselves do it.

Musicianship: 8
Songwriting: 7
Memorability: 6
Production: 5

3 Star Rating

1. Ex Vanitas
2. From Chaos To Creation
3. Etherstorms
4. The Great Chasm Of Humanity
5. Prophet Of Fire
6. The Ascendant
7. Inferno
8. Radiant Darkness
9. Screaming For Vengeance
10. Uncreation
Nightderanger – Vocals
Azul Corax – Guitars
Apostate – Guitars
Insomniac – Bass
Iron – Drums
Record Label: Inverse Records


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