Like the best french black metal, not much is known about the line-up of Abyssal. They could be three or it could be the project of one person. Their releases were also apparently put out without much promotion or information until Profound Lore reprinted the second album, Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius, on CD and Iron Bonehead and Exitium Productions took on the task of doing a LP and cassette version respectively. Now for their third album, Antikatastaseis, Abyssal is ready for some wider recognition from fans of orthodox black metal and progressive death metal.
Much like nowadays Deathspell Omega, it’s hard to stick a genre to the kind of extreme metal Abyssal plays. The influence of DsO or progressive beasts like Gorguts or Portal can be heard in the riffs of tracks The cornucopian because of the technicality in the guitar work. But, maddening and technical metal is not only what Abyssal offers as the post rock melody of the same song, or during Telomeric erosion, proves effectively. However, when they choose to experiment more and incorporate a repetitive, and off beat piano part in Veil of transcendence, the result is distracting during the first half until the riffs and rhythm turns into a black metal blur.
Despite the variety of their influence, Abyssal‘s focus is mostly on the guitars and not much in the rhythm since the drums are too far in the back. Although the musician sound very competent and his part seems to have been played without the help of any studio trickery, it’s regrettable that the instrument that could have provided some more coherence to each songs is sadly pushed aside. Therefore, despite the variety of each songs, its hard to distinguish between them and it makes the experience a bit less enjoyable.
Nonetheless, there is much to appreciate here and some debatable mixing choice won’t change the fact that Antikatastaseis is a very impressive piece for all fans of extreme metal. Without putting a focus on technicality, Abyssal has created a complex piece of music in-between the punishing obscurity of Portal and the complex mystical obsession’s of Deathspell Omega.