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Review
Limbonic Art – Spectre Abysm


Limbonic Art, despite being around since the early nineties, are not oft mentioned in the same breath as similar (if far superior) act Emperor.

Nor within that hallowed lore of second wave black metal from the land of the jagged shore.

Regardless, they are perhaps the only band from the symphonic strain to come close to rivalling the above mentioned kings, and have a solid discography of eight records behind them.

This, the latest, without resorting to the swirling vortex of reviewer speak, is an enjoyable if unadventurous second effort from Daemon (Vidar to his Mum) as a one man band.

Attached to Candlelight records, the transformation begun on predecessor ‘Phantasmagoria’ comes to its logical conclusion here.

Guttural Moans

Opener ‘Daemonic Resurrection’ does alarm the listener initially, as it’s embryonic moments seem to come straight from the big beat manifesto of latter day Dimmu Borgir.

The production is enormous and the heavy handed organs and keys underneath it are a touch overwhelming.

But, as if by magick, these symphonic elements, held so dear by the original incantation, dissipate and vanish as the record reveals itself.

Over its ten minutes or so, however, it is a microcosm of Limbonic Art’s unusual method.

The structure seems to be all over the place, shifting rapidly from one riff to another and this is underscored by the huge variation in vocal styles, from harpy like shrieks, guttural moans and cathartic chanting and this culture continues throughout the album.

Rawer

It can be said that a fundamental element of LA’s sound has been lost forever since the departure of Morfeus.

The surviving member Daemon is a guitarist, and the riffing has slithered and smashed its way to the forefront in last two albums, to a large extent at the expense of the symphonic elements.

Much remains as it was, however.

The drum machine is masterfully programmed, and it has always lent this band a kind of martial, industrial feel.

One can’t help but get the impression that Daemon has opted to clarify the percussion on this album as on ‘Spectre Abysm’, its function is in a sense modest, that is to say, traditional rather than an atmospheric tool.

This is a far rawer, and for want of a better word, frostier album than has been served up in the past.

Visceral Emotion

Old Norwegian reliables like frantic tremolo picking and savage blastbeating are utilized in place of the rousing symphonic tones of old, and to an extent it works. It has visceral emotion, in particular on fourth track ‘Requiem Sempeternam’, a track taut with despair.

The funereal opening riff is enveloped by the morose, tortured vocal line, a real spine tingler. Daemon has a remarkable ability for vocal intelligibility and the not altogether ham fisted lyrics add something in this regard.

Problems? One glaring issue is that over the course of the record, the creativity and innovation required to allow a well-played and produced album to become a great one are deficient.

The riffs are for the most part pedestrian and unadventurous. Repetition often permits certain bands to flourish but here it confounds this records flow.

The time signature and tempo changes, the quasi-religious elements and the varying of the vocals show that our man is savvy enough to know that mixing it up is essential.

This cannot, however paper over the cracks in the riffing and the difficulty in maintaining concentration for the duration of the album.

Decent effort, but not shaking the ground beneath my feet.

3.1 / 5 – Kevin Jacob ::: 28/07/17


4 Comments
  1. Used to be a band I listened to quite a bit .in abhorrence dementia being my favourite along With dynasty of death .

    Might give this a listen

  2. I loved them back in the day, but I have to say going back recently to the IAD etc, I just found the vocals comical. That new track sounds alright, I might give it a go.

  3. Anonymous Says:

    Love Moon in the Scorpio and In Abhorrence Dementia, great stuff there… Will have to give this a go..

  4. This sounds fantastic, a return to form if anything.

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