Abhoria
Abhoria

2022, comin’ in HAWT. You know it’s true because of the way I spelled it. I already have 3-5 albums which are sure year end contenders and I’m writing this sentence on the last day of January. I’m not one to complain about an embarrassingly high amount of excellent metal, but it’s already been difficult to listen to everything, and now we have Abhoria with their debut album of the same name.

They don’t waste any time letting you know they aren’t fucking around. The first track, “False Idols,” has a short intro, then right into the latter era Emperor groove, much like the excellent Ashen Horde, from which this band shares pedigree. There’s also a certain palpable viciousness, much like Funeral Mist. That neck snapping groove a little over halfway through was just unnecessary, guys. Killer opener.

“Mountebank,” which is the next track, continues that momentum. Although it doesn’t sound too different as compared to the previous, it sounds to my ears much more like some Swedish black metal, such as the previously mentioned Funeral Mist. Listen to that guitar riff and tell me you don’t feel the same. It is certainly not as expansive or lengthy, but the spirit is shared.

For the most part, the album’s songs huddle around 5 minutes, so when “Byzantine Promises,” track 4, clocks in at under 4, I want to mention it. There’s a reason as this is one of the fastest on the album. Of course, that’s all relative when Abhoria go mostly full speed. At around the 2-minute mark comes deep growls and a fist pumping moment just after the chorus that should go on just a little longer.

The last track is of course the longest at over 7 minutes, but “Sunless” is where the band truly spreads their legs and flies. I may have that phrase wrong… The track itself has a doomy crawl to begin, which is slightly different than the rest of the album with some relatively clean background vocals. At just past the 2-minute mark comes some cleans which would not sound entirely out of place on an Arcturus record. With an excellent melodic guitar solo, it’s clear why this track was placed on the end. Perhaps this is a direction they will explore more later.

If it’s not obvious, I’m a fan. Being that I enjoy Ashen Horde, this is no surprise. While it’s along the same lines, this is no clone. If there’s a criticism to be had, it’s that it all sounds familiar. However, if you’re into the melodic black metal of the bands mentioned above and maybe Angl era Ihsahn, there’s plenty to enjoy here. I’m buying it, for sure. Let no one tell you American Black Metal can’t be a thing of beauty.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
February 16th, 2022

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