Abbaddon Incarnate’s decision some years ago to embrace grind, and most especially the Nasum legacy, was probably one of the best they could have made. It gave them a vitality and a crossover appeal that their otherwise well worn death metal lacked. ‘Nadir’ and most especially the excellent ‘Dark Crusade’ became angry records rather than some dubious notion of evil ones. That made them all the more relevant.
They’re continuing down that path, and it’s great to hear. ‘Strappado’ couldnt be any more appropriate an opening to this new album: about a minute and a half of quick fire riffing and blasting, setting out their stall for the rest of the album. It’s got everything. Military aggression, hooks, their trademark swap of grunting and gnashing vocal, and groove.
The Trackmix production is slightly more crusty than usual from the studio, no doubt at the band’s request. Where ‘Nadir’ occasionally cracked and clipped toward saturation point though, this sound is still within tolerances.
Drummer Johnny King has stepped ably into the band. He’s a little straighter in dynamic than either the much missed Olan Parkinson or Jason Connolly, both of whom had a much quicker turn of phrase on the kit. But he’s pummelling and fast, as well as displaying excellent double bass rumbling, which helps add solidity to some of the songs that can at times get a little hectic.
That though is an important point. Abbaddon know, and always have really, how to rein it back. How to lock down into a beat and a groove. All the blasting in the world is worthless without it. The band are tight while at the same time preserviong a loosened, live feel, and tracks like ‘Cursing The Inept’ do justice to the grind tradition that they’ve adopted while maintining the feral DM spirit of bands like Deranged.
The cover art is good for its necro purpose, though I’d offer that it’s dated. ‘Dark Crusade’s art moved them forward so much. It was arresting, vivid, and stuck out on the shop shelves. This one, cool as it is, kind of brings us back to 1994, and I’m not sure anyone would notice it in a rack. But there you go. It’s an excellent grind attack, a great ambassador for the genre, more intelligent and tight than all the sound and fury would initially suggest.
3.7/5 – Earl Grey ::: 14/09/09