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Abysmal Grief - Mors Eleison

Abysmal Grief
Mors Eleison
by Louise Brown at 26 July 2019, 8:13 PM

ABYSMAL GRIEF had their beginning during 1996 in Genoa, Italy. They've remained together for all of these years and have managed to compile a most impressive discography in that amount of time. In total the band has 16 different releases, ranging from splits to EPs to full-length albums. The band specializes in a more theatrical style of Doom Metal which relies heavily upon themes of horror, occultism and divination. At this point in time you could honestly call them some of the forefathers of the genre.

"Mors Eleison" was originally released in 2006. The EP was reissued recently which is why I'm checking it out today. The four tracks consist of a total of less than 30 minutes listening time so this will be nice change of pace from some of the other things I've reviewed recently. Plus I admit I have a certain level of curiosity since this is an older band that I've never listened to.

The opening song, "Mors Eleison," is low-key at first. It has a down-tempo intro focused on a bass-line that is tremendously heavy as well as dark. As some equally impressive guitar riffs and percussion join in, the sound is nearly identical to some Stoner Doom Metal songs that I've been listening to recently. (I'd been wondering what sort of bands had influenced these newer, younger groups of musicians; pretty sure I just found one, a-ha!) At any rate, I'm beyond pleased by what I am hearing. The vocals are the best surprise of all. They're eerily similar to Peter Steele's, who fronted the band TYPE O NEGATIVE, as most of you undoubtedly know. To hear that pitch and those inflections coming from another singer is cool, but a little unsettling, too. The track is wickedly alluring and vampire-like as it pulls you close then refuses to let go. I'd recommend it to anyone who is curious about this band since it reveals their talent very effectively.

"Occultism" begins with an eerie, desolate air that goes on for a bit. I'm a little surprised that it doesn't create the same level of anticipation that the first song did. Just about the time I'm getting a bit bored the song gets heavier and considerably more lively after the percussion and guitar join in. The vocals on the track are good, but not nearly as compelling as they were on "Mors Eleison," which is disappointing. Fortunately, the music makes up for it. Bass-driven, slow, and relentless it creeps further into your ear as you listen until you simply can't escape from it. A really nice guitar solo adds even more to the song, giving it a level of power that makes it considerably better than it might have been otherwise.

"The Shroud" is strange and haunting. The track has a personality all its own. Russian/Slavic-sounding voice samples add to the strangeness, as do the odd sound effects that are added to the background noise. I'm intrigued at first, thinking that it will eventually lead to a really heavy sounding-break or something along that line as the song picks up speed. After about three minutes and thirty seconds have passed I realize that this IS the song. My original enthusiasm fades, replaced by irritation as I contemplate the direction they could've taken with the track instead of what they chose to do. By time the song ends, I'm over it. It's not for me because it doesn't seem like Metal to my ears. Ambient Trance music, absolutely, but not Metal.

The final track, "Mysterium Umbrarum," sounds promising at first as it blends a dark underlying track with a lovely acoustic guitar. I'm really enjoying it until the entire tempo of the song changes. From that point on, it becomes an odd, chaotic-sounding sort of thing, ranging from stark, nearly silent background noise to strident vocals that are harsh and grating combined with brutal guitar hooks which actually aren't that bad at all. This unsettling combination of near silence and its complete opposite repels me rather than making me want to hear more. I don't mind Industrial Metal at times, but in this case I wasn't prepared for it and am in no mood to listen to anything like it. Things take an even more perplexing turn when a harpsichord starts to play a minute or two before the song is over. The music towards the end of the song is far better than the beginning as it takes on a more Doom Metal sound, making me wonder why they didn't do this for the entire track. I'm seriously disappointed by the time it's done.

Since the EP is not consistently great all the way through I think I wlll refrain from recommending it. Obviously it's your choice, but I think you'd be better off going with some other selection. With two good tracks and two not-so-good tracks it is not a guaranteed favorite for many Metal fans.

Songwriting: 5
Originality: 6
Memorability: 5
Production: 5


2 Star Rating

  1. Mors Eleison
  2. Occultism (Paul Chain Violet Theater cover)
  3. The Shroud
  4. Mysterium Umbrarum
Labes C Necrethytus -  Vocals, keyboards
Regen Graves -  Guitar, synthesizer, drums
Lord Alastair -  Bass
Record Label: Sun & Moon Records


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Edited 06 February 2023

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