With a 2012 demo (Mosaic of the Distant Dominion) and a 2015 EP (The Three Appearances) behind them, the Italian doom/death band Assumption are returning with a strikingly good debut album. Entitled Absconditus, it will be jointly released on April 20 by Everlasting Spew Records and Sentient Ruin Laboratories. And today we have a couple of firsts for you — the first disclosure of the album’s memorable cover art by the talented Lauri Laaksonen (Convocation, Desolate Shrine), and the first song premiere from the album, which happens to be the expoansive opening track, “Liberation“.
At more than 15 minutes in length, it is indeed a sprawling saga, but one that draws the listener ever deeper into its powerful spell as the minutes pass. Losing interest isn’t a risk here… but losing your bearings on what passes for the reality around you definitely is.
“Liberation” is haunting, hallucinatory, and horrific. An atmosphere of death and decay surrounds the music; flights of ghosts invade the mind; it’s a disturbing sorcery that’s being practiced here, but resistance is futile.
In the main, the cadences are slow and head-nodding, and the weaving of this musical spell begins immediately with a mesmerizing combo of reverberating bass notes and shimmering guitar sounds. The music seems simultaneously bright, spacious, and ominous. After nearly a full stop, a dismal lead enters the frame, along with deep, guttural growls that resemble the slow crushing of chunks of concrete, if recorded in a crypt.
Assumption wisely choose their moments to vary what’s happening. And so they increase the tempo and introduce a big, hooky, hammering riff over the rumble of double-bass and a cracking snare beat; and the lead begins to flicker and shimmer again. When the pace slows once more, the melody becomes even more queasy and morbid as a gruesome stringed harmony gradually unfolds. Those slow, ringing guitar notes from the introduction reappear, re-weaving their spell, but this time joined by high, skittering tones that add a feeling of gibbering madness.
Toward the finish, the drumming again becomes more urgent, more pneumatic in its drive, and the sound of the lead guitar becomes more febrile — but the song concludes in a spectral glimmering, as of ghosts now passing out of your mind after having their fun with it. If you have to shake yourself and try to recall where you are and what you were doing before the song began, that will come as no surprise to us at all.
To repeat, Absconditus will be released through Everlasting Spew Records and Sentient Ruin Laboratories, with CD, cassette, and digital formats becoming available on April 20 and a vinyl version arriving in mid-2018. A shirt (pictured above) will also be available. Pre-order info is available through the links below.