Abduction is a one-man UK black metal band whose ravaging debut album To Further Dreams of Failure we reviewed (in part) in March 2017. The band also released an album last year, A Crown of Curses, and now this UK ravager already has a third one geared up for release tomorrow — March 29th — via Inferna Profundus Records. All Pain As Penance is the name of the new one, and we have a full stream of it for you today.
“Infinite Ancient Hexes” was the first track made available for streaming a few weeks ago. It seized attention immediately. On that track, as on all the others, A|V handles everything except drums, which were performed by session member EG. His drumming on that first song to be revealed from the album is powerful, driving the pace in a plundering fury while delivering neck-cracking fills along the way. Meanwhile, the riffing creates a dismal and poisonous atmosphere, a thick, desolating miasma of sound, parsed by chiming chords that are still moody but also hypnotic, and by an incendiary solo.
It made for an absolutely explosive, irresistibly head-moving herald for this album, notwithstanding the music’s aura of pestilence and wretchedness. It rocks as well as ravages, and it’s easy to get addicted to it very quickly. But there is so much more to come from this album following that opener.
The music is physically arresting, with the kind of tumultuous, surging power that gets the blood rushing. But the music is also dynamic and mood-altering, and loaded with seductive melodies that embed themselves in the mind. At a very high level, the album is punishing in its ferocity, remorseless in its viciousness, chillingly otherworldly, frighteningly magisterial, and also inconsolably bleak and heart-breaking.
We premiered a second excerpt, a song called “Prayer For Electrocution“. As on that previously released opening track, this one seems to straddle two worlds — the physical one, in which blood races and is spilled from veins torn open, and a shadow realm in which hungering forms savage our dreams. The violence in the music strikes like a billion-watt lightning storm, driven by another extravagant drum performance and by riffs of blazing cruelty. Guitar leads of wild brilliance swirl and flicker through the tumult. The voice comes for your throat in a howling rage.
“Ultra Terrestrial” is another extravagant storm of blasting and lashing ferocity, with unearthly flickering leads and waves of melody that create an atmosphere of cruel, cold eminence. The music is at times dismal, but excruciating cries and whirring riffs also transmit hallucinatory delirium.
The album includes two longer-than-average songs, and Abduction uses the extra minutes to lock the listener into magnetizing repeating sequences, which make those songs stand out perhaps a little in front of everything else. “Convulsing at Baalbek” is the first of those. Initially, it’s mercilessly tension-inducing and nerve-wracking, all hammering drums, pounding bass, and paroxysms of guitar discordance mixed with inconsolably anguished melodies and eerie flickering notes. After a space in which the drums fall silent (the space filled with growled spoken words and gloomy melody), EG returns — booming — and the bass pulses in the veins. The feeling of despair deepens as the tremolo chords wash over us in cresting and falling waves, creating a powerfully mesmerizing, head-moving effect as the sequence repeats over most of the song’s last 4 minutes.
Astutely, Abduction follows that tremendous song with an interlude (“Embattled“), a spooky, spine-tingling concoction of throbbing and glistening ambient music, abrasive clawing chords, and poltergeist gasping and wailing, which in turn is followed by the blazing “Prayer of Electrocution“.
As the title of “Seven Apparitions of Suffering” suggests, A|V’s mind-broiling riffs and searing cries channel misery, and as the drums move from pummeling to a more measured cadence, the mood becomes grief-stricken and hopeless, even as the guitars ring out in shining splendor.
The closer, “The Funeral of Cosmic Mastery“, is the other long track on the album, and like the first one it includes a magnetizing sequence — but you don’t get there until first running a dramatic and delirious gauntlet of breathtaking drum blasting, big groaning bass notes, and morbid whirring riffs paired with spear strikes of shining melody and tortured shrieks. When a break in this terrible melee comes, EG launches a kind of skipping rhythm, and the pealing melody seems almost hopeful, or at least yearning, like the sound of desperately grasping for a last lifeline. That sequence is he part of the song that really gets its hooks in — and then Abduction sets the whirlwind loose again to create an extravagant and electrifying finale to the song and the album.
This is really good stuff, so good (and so multi-faceted and dynamic) that it’s riveting from beginning to end. Inferna Profundus will release it on CD and vinyl formats, and you can find pre-order links below. Again, the release date is tomorrow.