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Abyss - Heretical Anatomy

Heretical Anatomy
by Andrew Sifari at 14 June 2015, 4:19 PM

Plenty of bands promise to wow with unique takes on established sounds and styles, but few actually follow through with music worthy of such claims. Toronto’s own ABYSS display their influences for all to see on their debut LP “Heretical Anatomy,” a fresh take on the art of the old-school Death Metal beatdown.

Formed in 2009, the band released two demos before coming together for their newest release, which combines the best of US and Swedish Death Metal with a health helping of Grindcore. The results are as explosive as one might imagine, with buzz saw riffs and pummeling beats providing the soundtrack to an ass-kicking, with each song averaging just over two minutes in length. The raw, gloomy title track bristles with energy, but still only hints at what madness is yet to come. “The Atonement” wastes no time kicking up a storm from the word go, flattening the listener with its murky guitars and relentless pace then leaving you to dry with its slow, churning grind. Shades of CARCASS, ENTOMBED, and even TERRORIZER are clearly noticeable throughout the proceedings, but there is a certain grimy, unhinged quality to their music that, in unison with the band’s unforgiving instrumental assault, separates ABYSS from the legions of wannabe br00tal acts.

The album is very solid production-wise, though I think the guitars could have been crisper in the mix. The fuzzy, high-gain sound works great on tracks like “Chained To Extinction,” a savage blend of punk fury and unrelenting Death Metal, but on the whole, I felt like the riffs could’ve been made a bit punchier in the mix without taking away from the gritty aesthetic the band is clearly going for. Nevertheless, the band manage to get their point across just fine, and do a good job mixing things up in the process. “Aggressive” would be a good word to describe “Heretical Anatomy” as a whole, but such a simple label undervalues the shifts in tone and dynamics from song to song. Breaking from the sheer velocity of earlier offerings, “Thrall of the Elder Gods” brings all of the doom and terror from before at less than half the speed, and is no less exciting in this moment of restraint. The album ends with a scorched-earth approach on “Nightmares In Skin,” thrashing and destroying until nothing is left, the band sounding as energized as ever.

Heretical Anatomy” is a pummeling work of music, but it’s also well written enough to sound classic without sounding dated. The best flavors of Death, Thrash, and Punk come together on this tightly-performed, engaging effort that is sure to put a smile on the faces of Extreme Metal fans everywhere.

4 Star Rating

1. Heretical Anatomy
2. The Atonement
3. Chained To Extinction
4. Flesh Cult
5. Prophecies Of Churning Horror
6. Atavistic Decay
7. Thrall Of The Elder Gods
8. Nightmares In Skin
Rob - Bass, Backing Vocals
Max - Drums
Jason - Guitars
Ethan - Guitars
David - Vocals
Record Label: 20 Buck Spin


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