Finally, we have Abhoria’s second full-length, Depths. I feel like this album has been teased frequently on social media. However, that may be because I follow their record label, Prosthetic, and the band. So, if there’s anything teased, I’m going to see it. Oddly enough, though, when I was finally sent the promo, I was surprised.

What doesn’t surprise me is its excellence. Starting with what I thought was just going to be a quick mood setter, “Emergence,” while brief, indeed sets the proper expectations, leading into “The Inexorable Earth.” Blast beats everywhere, clean, yet visceral production and an unrelenting throat-shredding vocal performance are just a few of the characteristics that stand out upon first listen. In some of the vocals, the bite at the end reminds me of Atilla (Mayhem vocalist, not the awful band of the same name).

A bit longer and nearly halfway through, “Within Our Dominion,” immediately showcases the brilliant drum performance, as well as the shiny guitar tone. That main riff is catchy as hell, too. The death metal vocal approach, as with many of the tracks, blurs the lines between black metal and death metal, but who cares? Sometimes they’re so low, they’re almost in brutal slam territory.

When checking the album cover for this, you know it’s going to be dark and heavy, but maybe I wasn’t expecting it to be so intense. There are infectious melodies, mostly in the solo sections, but the intensity is nearly unrelenting, which some will see as a positive, and I’m not saying it isn’t. Just that I would enjoy a little more melody. Give my neck a break!

No, though. As the album nears its conclusion, a death metal Emperor seems to have written “Ghost in the Smoke.” The melodies abound, once again, especially in the extended solo section, but the blasts are fast and relentless once again. Maybe they’ll finally give the listener some long-awaited reprieve on the longer closing track.

“Winter’s Embrace” is that closing track and you may have guessed that answer is “no.” Well, good scholar, you’ve been paying attention. You’re correct. However, there is a somewhat lengthy instrumental section, which sounds straight out of Blashyrkh. However, it’s as brutal, just missing the vocals. It’s not like they brought out the grandpa’s guitars for a fire pit sitting.

As you might have noticed, there are faults. The unrelenting pace is the glaring one, which may not even be factor if the album wasn’t 45 minutes. While that’s not egregious, it’s a factor. Don’t get me wrong, Depths is still highly enjoyable and worth many repeated listens. I also have the sneaking suspicion that listening to it even more than I did to review, will be rewarded. So, give it the time it needs to burrow into your skull.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by J Mays
January 31st, 2024


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