It would be crass to claim Abyss of Wrathful Deities as just another metal revival album. It’s true that Abyss is coming out in a landscape that is currently saturated with classicist death and black metal fusions, sitting shoulder to shoulder with some serious contenders. However, the details and focused production of this album make it unique in its aesthetic approach.
A primitivism tends to underscore Grave Miasma’s melody and compositional structure throughout, by no means a bad thing. There’s a specific intention in crafting the tracks to resemble the sonic territory of more vintage death metal. Yet they do so meticulously, with each track brimming with details that seek to recreate a template for older sounds, but with modern polish and seamless transitions between the brutal and the melodic in equal measure.
Grave Miasma deftly moves between genre-minted rapid fire blast beats, thunderous crash cymbal hits, and spine shattering distortion. Every guitar pummeled, wrangled into a soundscape that’s suffocating in dexterity and articulation. Yet the production is far removed from the immaculate and clinical distinction of their contemporaries. There’s a bit of grit, a bit of gristle that hangs off the tracks, and it’s wonderful.
Grave Miasma aren’t overly invested in atmosphere. Abyss of Wrathful Deities flows, free to sunder and oppress listeners with masterful guitar compositions, from searing solos on ” Rogyapa” to arpeggiated buzzsaw fret violence on “Under the Megalith.” There are some briefly atmospheric moments—”Demons of the Sand,” for instance, entertains the notion with an ethereal pause before delving into complete obliteration of mystique, which in this instance works effectively.
Abyss is at its best when its details come together, elevating tempos and choking power chords in tandem, letting each instrument’s dynamism build crunch and friction. There’s some natural warmth to the amps and distortion here that belies the intensity of the tracks, especially present on “Exhumation Rites,” another example of what helps allow this album to flow so well.
From every grisly tremolo pick to every crushing snare hit, Abyss of Wrathful Deities is bleak, brutal and exactly what you think it is. This isn’t a mere refinement of a band’s effort, or an evocation of genre classics for nostalgia’s sake. It is, instead, a layered framing of metal as a form of musical collision, surveying what makes the more extreme notions of the genre itself function while still possessing the ability to hold listeners captive with a certain awe.
Label: Dark Descent