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Abstruse – Submerge: Ritual

Submerge: Ritual
by Mark Machlay at 10 February 2020, 2:48 PM

ABSTRUSE is an Experimental/Avant-Garde metal band from Greece. There are a lot of other titles a person could slap on this band but keeping the description succinct is all the elegance this band deserves. The band claims they are constantly challenging themselves to become something that has not been seen or heard in existence before. Truly, few, if any bands today are making music as diverse as ABSTRUSE.

Experimenting to push the boundaries of what music can be is a worthwhile endeavor. It does not mean it has to be good. This band seems to have left everything in, good or bad, warts and all, to the extreme detriment of their achievement. This band seems to have gotten a hold of a particularly strong batch of peyote and endeavored to chronicle their trip back to reality in cacophonous, incomprehensible, overindulgent dreck. So many influences are thrown in here from various eastern traditions to elements of jazz and one can even discern a cello and oboe at times. This is “kitchen sink” music like I have never heard before.

There are moments where great music does seem to shine through – in the mesmerizing “Intradimensional”, the haunting piano melody and pervasive feeling of being chased on “Of the Ever Return” and the interplay between the acoustic guitar, electric guitar and other elements in “Shamanic” is really captivating and fun listening. The drum parts - whether tribal, programmed or otherwise – are as repetitive as they are intricately written so I would commend whoever wrote them but they always go for way too long with the same beat.

But for long stretches, their does not appear to be any structure at all and feels as though the tracks were simply pieced together on a whim. “ParaBrahman” is possibly the worst offender. It has no vocals and simply seems to be a jam track between some Middle Eastern instrumentalists. A distorted electric playing random djent-y licks only to leave the instrumentalists quickly and a traditional kit drummer rudely butts in sounding as if he is trying to drown them out at the end. The point being, without the traditional “metal” instruments, this could be a fairly enjoyable jam track if you like the sounds of sitar, tabla and mridangam ensembles.

The vocals are competent for what they are. Many lines are simply spoken and often buried beneath the other elements but it is obvious that they have talent though no real range was presented here. Oftentimes I would liken his vocal delivery to DISTURBED or other gravely nu-metal types. This isn’t necessarily a negative as many vocalist from that genre have talent but simply an observation. This may have seemed harsh, but brilliance can be seen in spots. The band would do well to tighten up their arrangements, be willing to cut repetitive elements and develop a slightly more diverse vocal delivery.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 3
Production: 9

3 Star Rating

1. Submerge
2. (Ritual) Of Identity
3. Of Self-Annihilation
4. Intradimensional
5. Of Lust
6. Of the Ever Return
7. Shamanic
8. ParaBrahman
9. Ceremonial Celestial
Substant – Guitars, Vocals, Drums, Percussion
Record Label: Independent


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Edited 02 December 2022

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