Wednesday, February 20, 2013

... ABYSMAL GRIEF "Feretri"

Long-standing Italian doomsters Abysmal Grief look back on an extensive discography of EPs and demos, yet only three albums, the most recent one being "Feretri". On it, the band offers the most orthodox brand of sluggishness you can get, complete with organ, deadly growls and bass-drenched riffs.

Opener "Lords Of The Funeral" establishes an even mixture of these elements with eerie chanting clear vocals, singer and keyboardist Labes C. Necrothytus being not very versatile, but the more charismatic. Though the track clocks in only after nine minutes, you needn't look far for a hook: It lies within the chorus melody and is the better remembered thanks to the slightly livelier last third of the track, which also features a spirited guitar solo. "Hidden In The Graveyard" is a little shorter, but cooked up according to the same recipe as the opener, the keyboards being the true highlight here. To those who haven't suspect it yet, it's obvious here that Necrothytus is the driving force behind the band, and he is very good in what he does.

That is, following his vision into nether-realms where old churches and morbid fun fairs (the compact "Sinister Gleams" has apparently sprung from one) play a prominent role. Abysmal Grief are soulmates of the great Danes Denial Of God, meaning that they set the ambience of vintage horror to Metal with distinct influences from Death SS to King Diamond. After its intro "Crepusculum", "The Gaze Of The Owl" seems to be the key song on "Feretri": Breathy vocals plus choir, cembalo-like arpeggios and the hypnotic main riff alongside a passionate guitar solo make for a standout, although that being said, none of the other tracks fails to miss the point. Closer "Her Scythe", the longest of all, may be the most minimalistic one, but adds to an amply funereal atmosphere. Listen to the string synthesizer in the end and check out the cover artwork taken from the classic movie "La Dama Rossa Uccide Sette Volte", then you'll know what I mean.

Let's hope the band will gain some momentum with their quite original and pitch-black interpretation of doom (drummers being their Achilles' Heel, they have repeatedly been hampered) now that the genre has become the craze of the day. Few would more deserve it than them, and with a label like Terror From Hell, they are not on the wrong track either.

words by Andreas Schiffmann

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