Denouement (Reissue)

It feels a little odd reviewing Abyssal‘s re-released debut, Denouement so close to the excellent review of their second offering Novit Enim Dominus Quie Sunt Eius, but here I am listening to and enjoying Denouement actually a little more than the band’s latest Profound Lore release.

Originally self released by the band on individual, hand crafted CDs or via digital release, Hellthrasher Productions somehow procured an official CD/LP release of the debut of one of metal’s most mysterious but promising new acts. Hailing from the UK, little is known about Abyssal‘s robed members, but I’d be willing to bet money it features members of Binah and Indesinence due to the same sort of oppressive, muddy, monstrous and doom tinged tones. However, Abyssal, while certainly fitting squarely in the same atonal, churning doom/death filled realm as those bands as well as Mitochondrion, Portal, Maveth, Antediluvian, Krypts, Paroxsihzem, Immolation and such, seem to have one robed hand dipped in the chalice of ritualistic black metal.

Even though the guitar tone and vocals are of the cavernous, claustrophobic sort, the percussive side of the band and some of the riff structures relate back to a more bleak, cold and blackened aura. Tremolo picked riffs and blat beats, even though down-tuned as hell, still peek through the atonal, musty, muddy throes and often dissect some of the sickly viscera, with clean, sudden strokes (i.e., the simply gorgeous transition at 5:26 of amazing opener “The Moss Upon Our Ruins” and “Deus Vult” to name a few of the standouts). It’s a very delicate, clever balance, and one that will be, for some compartmentalized metal heads, hard to digest.

But for the patient, adventurous listener, Denouement, with a better, fuller sound then the follow up, delivers a somehow more grandiose and regal take on a typically suffocating sound. There are still oodles of oozing, creepy atmospheres and soul wilting undulating heaviness (the massive, crawling “When Paradigms Supplant Gods”, “Swansong of A Dying Race”), but there is a crafty intelligence and insidious black undercurrent that makes it more than just overwhelming noise and bellows. The 6 songs are all relatively long and full of twisty, serpentine shifts and deft melding of shrill, brittle blackness and slithering, sickly death metal.

As I stated earlier, whether it’s due this being my first exposure to the band, more standout moments and riffs or the more refined style delineation, I find Denouement to be a more satisfying complete listen to the more murky and muddy (but still impressive) Novit Enim Dominus Quie Sunt Eius. But regardless of which is the better release, there is a lot of Abyssal to listen to this summer, and darken those bright sunny days with one of the more promising and intriguing new (and English) bands to surface from the depths in quite some time.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
July 5th, 2013


  1. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    I always heard a lot of black metal in portal’s sound.

  2. Commented by: vugelnox

    I agree Erik. Their 2nd album is quite good but it’s a bit overlong and samey and it tends to wear on you after awhile. This album is a few notches above it although I’d also say this band isn’t quite on the level of Portal, Mitochondrion, Antediluvian…etc just yet but in time they could be.

  3. Commented by: Nick Taxidermy

    I like this band a lot. thanks for the heads up.

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