Abominant
Conquest

I’ll admit, this surprised the shit out of me. Hailing from Kentucky and with a pretty solid discography behind them, I was expecting the usual US goregrind but instead got some fairly solid melodic black/death war metal with a distinct European lean and even some black thrash tendencies.

Although not super tight or crisp and with a shoddy production, the overall result is better than the sum of the parts as Abominant write pretty memorable songs and rage with some tangible energy. Forsaking mindless blasting in favor of a blistering and urgent yet restrained approach, Abominant manage to impress despite their skill short comings. Now don’t get me wrong, this isn’t an album you need to rush out and buy right away, but certainly one taking a chance on if you see it for a good price somewhere. After the obligatory intro, ‘Hand of Destiny’ delivers the first surprising blow (considering my expectations) with a King Diamond like scream (used often) and a galloping tempo more akin to Dissection or Naglfar, but Mike Barnes keeps things within a slight US taste with his deep snarl, but from this point on, Abominant just do their thing with gusto and no sign of goregrind in sight.

 The initial blast beat of ‘Crumbling Empires’ shows some of Abominant’s shortcomings as Craig Netto is no Tim Yeung and is far better suited to the album’s more tempered material. Barnes overuses the King Diamond vocalizations to the point of annoyance, but the track has a pretty impressive climax. The immediate bridge into the rather intense tremolo picking of ‘Seeds of Fire’ is yet another surprising shift, as is the songs catchy main riff that retains a form of viciousness while still managing to be somewhat of an epic, warlike song. The staccato salvo that starts ‘Set You to Burn’ soon converts into more urgent warring gait that could be equal parts of a less polished Epoch of Unlight, Forest of Impaled or Aeternus. The lumbering break that appears during ‘Blood on the Altar of Man’ cements the fact that Abominant are certainly capable of cranking up the menacing material to offset their remarkably melodic and controlled sound.

My main beef with the album (other than Barnes continual high end vocal fits) is the production which renders most of the material that’s wants to be intimidating, menacing and blood pumping, but instead has much of its power sapped as the guitars lack punch and there is virtually no bottom end. The anthemic ‘For Those Who Have Fallen’, with a stouter, more fitting sound has the potential to be a killer track, but as it stands, its epic approach is rendered a bit lifeless. The pace of the album settles somewhat for ‘Resurrection Machine’ including a fairly impressive solo.

When the album ends with ‘Mortals Damnation’, I’m mildly impressed that such an album can come from Kentucky, let alone the US (I guess Epoch of Unlight are from Tennessee, so I should be that surprised), but after 6 albums, you’d think the band would be tighter, more focused and ready to step into the limelight of the US black death scene along side the likes of Council of the Fallen, Unholy Ghost and Aurora Borealis, but standing Abominant directly next to those bands only highlights their minor shortcomings, and truth be told those other bands shred them to pieces. Still though, not a bad album at all that exceeded my expectations and manages to give me a few pleasurable spins that I enjoyed, but not really an album that will define a genre or a career.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
May 5th, 2004

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