ALBUM REVIEW: Abysmal Growls Of Despair ‘Abyss’

Abysmal Growls Of Despair

Released August 2014

Be afraid. Be very, very afraid. ‘Abyss’ is a truly terrifying, mesmerising slab of funeral drone and atmospheric noise. This relentlessly sinister album is enough to give Satan nightmares! Even the artwork will give you the creeps.

The name of this band may be slightly off-putting for its simplistic literalism, but the music itself is pretty devastating. From the desperate, wolf-like howling of the enigmatic opening track, to the album’s sorrowful finale, AGOD deploy expertly-judged and well-paced sound effects that fall across your mind like a black curtain blocking out the light.

Using extensive extracts from classical masterworks ‘Pie Jesu’ and ‘Moonlight Sonata’, it is difficult to make a judgement about the musicianship on display. Undoubtedly, the finest music contained within this ‘Abyss’ is the creation of other composers, which is sometimes embellished and sometimes undermined by synthetic sounds of pain, sorrow and horror.

The sweet notes of the classical music are mere glimpses of light and beauty, but always shadow and dread overwhelm them. At times, the combination is breathtaking and beautiful, at others, genuinely frightening.

However, it is a fairly one-dimensional approach that works better in some places than others. For example, the mountainous rumble that overwhelms Pie Jesu on the track ‘Hang This Fucking Black Frockman’ is grimly enthralling, but the desolate moaning that disrupts Beethoven’s tender sonata is rather less convincing.

The closing song, ‘Calm Despair Hollow Life’ shows AGOD’s ability to create its own delicate composition, a gently mournful ditty that completes the album on a comparatively melancholic, peaceful note. ‘Abyss’ is a dark, destructive and disturbing experience that takes familiar sounds and sends them to Hell.

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