21 Feb 2022 - Simon
post hardcore post metal sludge metal | Pelagic Records | Release date: 25 Feb 2022
How do you follow up an album about the end of the world? You imagine a letter sent back hundreds of years lamenting the sickness which lead to the disaster in the first place, it’s bleak, dark and glorious.
Losing your main vocalist can be a major blow to a band. Losing the main vocalist and the second guitarist at the same time, well, you would think, is such a blow that would derail most bands. It’s a good job then, that Swiss natives and long-standing post-hardcore stalwarts Abraham are not like most bands. It helps when you have the distinctive vocals of drummer Dave Shlagmeister to call upon.
Following on from the bands previous magnum opus album and 4 vinyl behemoth Look, Here Comes the Dark! is quite a tall order but it is one that the band seemed to have relished as this new album continues their modus operandi of not standing still and pushing themselves as far as they can, not bound by traditional musical machinations.
I’m used to most bands nowadays setting the scene with an ambient build up, not Abraham though, the very first sounds you hear on first song “Verminvisible” are those previously mentioned pained vocals screaming out of the void, before being joined by a tapped drum beat. It’s these kinds of unexpected moments which makes listening to new music worthwhile, the thrill of hearing something not quite like you’ve heard before. Then the bassline joins, throbbing ominously before the band then joins for a deeply unsettling sonic onslaught which rarely relents during the albums whole run time. The band certainly flex their considerable music gymnastics and dip into adjacent genres, the almost black metal sounding “Blood Moon, New Alliance” is a great example of this. The punishing opening and subsequent plunge into eery ambiance with almost Gregorian chanting of “Fear Overthrown” is another great example.
The whole album feels like it was dragged out of the band from the depths of their collective being, dragged kicking and screaming into the light where it most definitely does not want to be, it wants to be in the shadows, not thrust into the light where it feels ill at ease. It’s as if the band had no choice but to get this music out of their system and purge themselves of its depravity. The uneasy nature of the album is a thread which runs through it’s entire runtime and honestly, its all the better for it, sometimes you need to that cathartic expulsion which this album delivers in all its twisted glory.
This music is most definitely not for everyone, it’s incredibly dense and takes a lot to penetrate its dark themes and almost off putting levels of cynicism, but stick with it and you will be rewarded with a thoroughly rewarding experience and you never know, it might just give you a chance to get those personal demons out of your system, scream because you are alive, and all because you threw yourself in at the deep end and let this album swallow you whole, great stuff.