Absence Betrayal  
Emotions

I’ve always been pretty knowledgeable when it comes to heavy/extreme metal and all its facets. All through my life, my fellow metalhead friends have referred to me as a metal encyclopedia. Like many die-hard metalheads, my affiliation with the genre has always been one from a “love and collect” aspect as opposed to merely a “like and buy”. This is essentially what fuels the need for metal knowledge; collectors like to know their shit. Having said that, I have to plead ignorance to being very schooled in one of the far Eastern blocks of the metal hemisphere, i.e. Mother Russia.

To be fair though, Russia was still the Soviet Union during most of my youth. In fact, I was already in high school when the Iron Curtain fell completely at the end of ’91 and as far as we Americans were concerned, Russia was still the Cold War antagonists/Hollywood bad guys that Reagan, Rambo, and Rocky had made us fear and/or despise. Couple that with the fact that the country and any metal scene it had, had been pretty much isolated from the rest of the world, and you can see where some of my ignorance on Russian extremity comes from. Sure, I’ve been familiarized with the likes of Mental Home back in the day and currently I’m aware output from acts such as Katalepsy, Abominable Putridity, and a few others, but in all honesty, the Russian metal scene is one of which I could really stand to polish up on.

 

When it come to the sounds of Russia’s Absence Betrayal and debut album, Emotions, I’m actually quite well schooled. The band is heavily steeped in the ways of Cradle of Filth (circa ’98-’03), and to a lesser extent, Ancient and Hecate Enthroned. In fact, heavily steeped might just be an understatement as Emotions reeks of old Dani and the boys. While that may not sound like such a good thing considering that the C.o.F. style, aurally and visually, isn’t quite as deliciously off-putting and extreme as it once was, especially with all the clones that have sprung up during the last twenty years; Absence Betrayal  is actually quite good and their songwriting skill comes off as a bit of fresh air on an un-original take.

While this bad boy is slathered primarily in ‘Filth, and has some more than quality examples of this in the form of tracks like “In Memory Of”, “Elizabeth”, and “We are Close to Heaven”, there is just a tad bit more meat to chew on here and there. “In My Eyes” has a nice Officium Triste flavored doomy and melancholic beginning in its simple and moving riffage. The song has a strained somberness to it before moving to and fro within blacker fields. A Seance vibe and groove mixes in with the band’s black metal stylings in the openings of “One More Day”, while album closer “When the Sun Goes Out” mixes in a bit more of the afforementioned Officium Triste influence into the blackened/’Filthy vibe. Good stuff all and all, even more so when you take in account that Emotions was written and entirely performed by band mastermind, Andrey Baranov. Seriously though, if you don’t like Cradle of Filth then there is nothing on Emotions that will likely appeal to you, but if you’re even just a casual fan of said style, then I encourage you to give Absence Betrayal and Emotions a spin or two, as you may just be pleasantly surprised.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Kristofor Allred
February 20th, 2019

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