Written by: The Administrator
The first track on Abyssus' stellar Death Revival is entitled "Metal of Death," and if that alone doesn't tell you what to expect in the following 33 minutes, we should probably just pack it up and head home. No gimmick necessary: this is fun death metal that thrives in an environment where the genre's intrinsic over-the-top absurdity and bombastic flair is celebrated. It's an admirable dedication, and after digging myself out of a recent glut of gross death metal that reveled in putridity, some crisply high-octane fare serves as an excellent palate cleanser. Nothing here is drenched in gore or ensconced in the increasingly prevalent "cavernous" aesthetic. Rather, everything here is aggressive, and boisterous, and coated in a slick sheen of late 80's nostalgia. If you like that furious romping energy of Consuming Impulse-era Pestilence, or Beyond The Gates-era Possessed, or Cause of Death-era Obituary, or Spiritual Healing-era Death, you're most certainly in capable hands. Long live the ugly mutation of thrash into death. The golden age lives on.
Due to this strict adherence to the old school formula, Death Revival is perhaps the furthest from original that an OSDM band can conceivably arrange themselves. This is an overtly borrowed approach and vibe. But none of us are listening to an album called Death Revival by a band named Abyssus without a general awareness of what lurks within. In short, if you want innovation, this ain't it. Even the little atmospheric flourishes--see the intro of "Genocide" for an standout example--make it into the fray to add additional weight to that assumed stamp of authenticity. With that said: you want to bang your fuckin' head with wild abandon and experience the glory days of death without resorting to spinning the classics, I really can't recommend this beast enough. And that's...that's pretty much my final word. If you wanna skip the rest of the review and just listen to it already, no hard feelings.
If you don't have 33 minutes and are instead looking to microdose some Abyssus, the one-two punch presented by "The Ten Commandments" and followup "Uncertain Future" paint a pretty clear picture of what the album offers as a whole. The listener is utterly obliterated by a rich coterie of frenetic boot-stomping riffs, with stomping percussion to match. On the former track, a triumphant no-holds-barred solo injects even more glee. While admittedly slowing it down here and there for sake of a little heterogeneity, the guitar department is significantly influenced by the thrashier edge of the days of OSDM yore, and that speedy element only lends credence to Abyssus' gratuitously fun-loving approach. The vocals are gruff and bellowed, and, while minimal in range, are certainly maximal in terms of sheer sneering aggression. They ride the line between bombastic and blatant caricature, and I enjoy that quality endlessly. In the case of "Uncertain Future," the track revolves around a jubilantly hooky and (highly chant-along-able) chorus. It's not subtle in the slightest, and serves in nice contrast to "The Ten Commandments" absurd display of varied riff savagery.
Songs that are impactful in the moment but ultimately fall from memory as soon as they end is a common concern in death metal revivalism. By trimming the fat and presenting an array of delightfully attention grabbing tracks, Abyssus avoid that conundrum with great aplomb. Moreover, they remind an OSDM worshipping audience of the reasons why we continually return to those late 80's/early 90's classics. While we've all heard this kind of stuff before, Death Revival is simply too damn fun to put down--truly grin-inducing shit. At risk of repetition...I really can't recommend this beast enough.
Abyssus - Death Revival was released Jan. 21st, 2021 via Transcending Obscurity Records.Find it here!
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We provide thoughtful reviews of music that wakes us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry.