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Abyssal Vacuum – MMXIX

Abyssal Vacuum
MMXIX
by Eric Poulin at 23 December 2019, 10:23 AM

ABYSSAL VACUUM is a black metal project based out of France, more specifically out of Lyon, Auvergne-Rhône-Alpes. The project was formed back in 2017 and is essentially a 1-man project. This is already their 2nd EP released in 2019, a limited-edition version of 66 copies, produced on cassette through the Egregor Records label. It is entitled “MMXIX” and spans 3 tracks, combined at a bit over 23 minutes of music. It is already incredibly ambitious to have a release in 2019 in the black metal genre, as it is traditionally known for its high-octane, blast-beat oriented, grim and gritty approach. There are still projects however that have the ability to take their musicianship a higher level and produce complex songs with multiple layers.

This album is a sequel to the first EP that was released this year under the moniker “MMXVIII”, which was the 2nd part of what seems to be a trilogy. The opening song “VII” has a very dark feel to it in the early stages, as if we are slowly entering a cavern about to explore what lies beneath. The guitar work is low-tone (almost death metal like), but is also combined with some higher notes to add a sinister coat to the music. The vocals are not at the forefront whatsoever, much more of a background element than anything else and are not of the shrieking variety whatsoever. The track itself to me has more of a doom/death side to it than I expected, not slow enough to be considered funeral doom, but it is definitely something that could have fit perfectly on a Peaceville release back in the 90's. The tempo does pick up a bit around the 6-minute mark, showing off the more aggressive side of the project.

The following number “VIII” does not dwell in the theatrics of the opener and it straight-up starts with some slow melancholic riffs. Even though there is a fair share of repetition here, it does not fall into the trap of being too monotonous and switches to different melodies at the right moment. At the risk of sounding repetitive, the tone presented here is very dramatic, and is about as close as you can get to horror music in the black metal category. The music produces a sense of anxiety and discomfort, not only in not knowing where the song will take you, but in its feeling of entrapment. The more intense portions of the song most likely follow that thought in that the protagonist is trying to find a way out of hell.  I appreciated the heavier and slower riffs near the end of the song.

“IX” is the longest song here, at almost 9 minutes and it shares a lot of the characteristics of the previous 2 tracks, but it starts off with blast-beats instead of a more progressive riff. It transitions quite well into these schizophrenic-style guitar patterns, that have melancholy written all over them and a post-metal flavor. For those of you familiar with the band MORGION, I can feel many similarities to their style in the slower parts, combined with EMPEROR elements that made the black metal genre so unique in the early 90's.

Overall, the EP flows well and even though there are 3 songs here, you could easily make the point that the album is almost 1, 23-minute song, simply split into 3 parts. The production itself is raw and rough around the edges, but there is a great deal of potential for this project to become very important in the underground realm of black metal, and hopefully will one day show off their skills in a live environment such as the Messe des Morts festival here in Montreal.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. VII
2. VIII
3. IX
Lineup:
Sébastien B. - Vocals, Guitars, Bass
Enno P. - Drums
Moïse M. - Samples
Record Label: Egregor Records
     


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