Unfathomed of Abyss
Arisen Upon Oblivion

Unfathomed of Abyss is a new one man symphonic black metal project from Texas. Self released debut album Arisen upon Oblivion is an opus that’s been in the works by creator Kevin Price for fourteen years. While he certainly didn’t rush to get this work out, he did make sure to put some effort into it reaching the public in proper form. He recruited percussive mercenary Kevin Talley to man the drum kit and talented veteran Tom Kvalsvoll to master it, both of whom have long and distinguished resume’s. It sounds crisp, clear, and the musicianship is solid throughout.

Fourteen years is a long time to live with the same pieces of music. It’s dangerous for an artist to have that much time to live with something and keep fiddling with it.   Those dangers are unfortunately apparent through the majority of the near hour long running time of the album. It kicks off with fourteen minute opener” To Unequal the Balance of the Cosmos”. The song meanders through different tones and textures, crashing open with dissonant guitars and rolling double bass, moving onto soft touching piano, before diving into ever shifting sections of aggression and subtlety. Off kilter riffs and swirling keyboards make up the sonic pallet used in the attempt to create an atmosphere of galactic malevolence. Nothing quite fits together well enough though for the changes to have the intended dynamic results. There’s a decent song sitting in the center of its running time, but the meat of it is book ended by way too much mediocre material to justify its length.

The album picks up nicely with second track “The Figment Undulated”. After a tension building rise to start it explodes just before the two minute mark. Twin guitars pick out dissonant melodies that expertly play off one another. They chime with pinprick feelings of anxiety and discomfort. The airy keyboards drape a mist of Lovecraftian cosmic dread around the proceedings. This song is a real bright spot. It doesn’t over-complicate itself or overstay its welcome making it by far the high point of the record.

Third track “Within the Glory of Other Lights” gets off to a promising start, blasting forward with crushing momentum awash in more keyboard atmospherics. Sadly, half way through is the point where in the process of the musical attempt to deconstruct the cosmos, the album deconstructs itself into near complete incoherence.

While there are some nice sections here and there, the next half hour is a tangled mess of start and stop pieces that don’t have strong enough musical transitions to hold them together. Too often a riff starts, then just inexplicably stops with a new one starting up, or repeating itself without intrigue. Rather than creating the sense of universal chaos it would seem the record is striving for, the disjointed quality creates a sense of an artist lost inside his own work, having spent far too long inside the process of its creation it to see it objectively. Track five, “Within the Void”, at over twelve minutes again repeats the theme of having the potential core of a decent song lost within clanging dissonance that’s neither punishing or clever enough to make a positive impression.

The title of eight minute closer, “The Malevolence of Existence’s Continuation”, becomes the perfect description of how you feel listening to it. It’s almost completely compiled of guitar and keyboard noises that fail to capture the imagination or take you away to anywhere other than the stop button. It’s trying to be a dramatic soundscape but comes off horribly overworked.

While I can’t fully recommend this record, this is a project I will keep a look out for a future release from. There’s a place for this kind of spacey yet brutal symphonic black metal if patience and restraint can be kept with the songwriting. There’s a sense of an artist with a solid conceptual core, but reaching just past what his talent will let him bring to fruition with the impact intended. Still, there are enough unique elements that it does keep me interested to see what this could grow into with experience. The man obviously wrestled with the creation of this and I’m sure there’s some creative catharsis at play just getting it out.  Hopefully we’ll see a new release out in another two years and not another decade.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Dan Wrathburn
November 13th, 2014

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