Beginning in 2018 the French black metal band Abyssal Vacuum has released two EPs, with a third one due for release by Egregor Records on December 1st. These three EPs collectively include nine tracks that have been identified in sequence by Roman numerals (and one cover song), with the most recent release — identified as MMXIX — consisting of tracks VII, VIII, and IX. And today we’re premiering streams of those three new compositions.
For those new to Abyssal Vacuum, it is the solo work of Sebastien B., although he is accompanied on this newest EP by drummer Enno P., and samples have been provided here by Moïse M. Perhaps one of the reasons why Abyssal Vacuum dispense with words in naming their songs is because the atmosphere created by the collage of sounds doesn’t seem quite human.
True to the band’s name, the music creates the impression of emanating from cavernous depths and from the blood-freezing voids between worlds. The heartless roars, terrifying howls, and tortured wails may come from a human throat, and they may take the shape of words, but their dominant impact is to underscore the terrors channeled through the music.
Don’t be misled by the preceding words, however: The songs on MMXIX are not washes of eerie ambient sound designed to lull you into chilling reveries (though you will hear a bit of that now and then). To the contrary, they have a powerful physical thrust, especially when moving at obliterating speed or locking into gut-punching rumbles, but that physical impact is present even when the momentum is moodier and menacing in a different way.
Instead, the chilling effect of the music derives from the soaring spectral sheen of the reverberating lead guitars, which chime, flicker, wail, and burn in dissonant tones, and from the mind-abrading (and head-moving) savagery of the riffing.
The strange melodies and eerie tonalities in the songs do somehow create a mesmerizing effect, which is quite an accomplishment given how unnerving they are. They become immersive, despite being frightening, and despite how pulse-pounding the drums and bass become. Those melodies both seem to be arriving like apparitions from light years away, and to spirit us away into a hostile yet majestic void at the same time.
Abyssal Vacuum‘s first two EPs were recently released on vinyl by Vendetta Records, and Egregor Records will release the new one on cassette tape and as a digital download, adorned by the striking artwork and photograph of Lambrith. Pre-orders can be placed now, in advance of the December 1 release: