From the label that brought us techno and flamenco inspired nu metal/deathcore in Bolu2death, comes a more easy to pigeonhole release in Eel from this long running Spanish black metal/crust group Absenta (Absinthe). It’s my first exposure to the band but I immediately thought of bands like DelugeCeleste and Regarde les  Hommes Tomber. Not necessarily a bad thing.

For a black/crust/sludge record, Eel can be a bit of a slow burning record, being much more of a mood setter than a barn stormer. Though there are some feral black metal bursts, the albums longer songs are content to brood and slowly burn in glowing embers. In fact, the whole first song “You Left me Dry” kinds of lopes and stumbles with a directionless but gloomy plod complete with gravelly spoken words. But occasionally some breath fuels the embers and  some nice blackened fury ignites as on second track “Burying Another Part of Our Soul” gets right to it with a shrill, Deafheaven-y blast and harsher screams before a more restrained moods comes back.

That controlled brooding pace continues  surface here and the for the likes of “Howling Under Growing Oceans” (which has a nit of a black metal injection as well as an atmospheric segue) and  “Erasing The Traces Of An Ungrateful Cowards” before  the title track delivers a stern Satyricon-like stomp and a raucous little tremolo picked climax. “Requiem for a Stream” has a nice jangly gallop and the aptly named “Darkened Blood” is a much leaner, meaner and more menacing black metal track with a really nice riff about 3 minutes in to end things on a positive note.

The production is earthy and beefy, thought the mostly croaky spoken word vocals didn’t do it for me. But Eel is a solid recod for a more patient listener who likes their black metal a little more crusty and unstable. It’s not a real memorable album, but it is a bit of a grower and shows Spain can have a bit of a dark side.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
July 7th, 2016


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