[Reviewed by: Iaha Crax]
The American metal underground scene has seen a remarkable proliferation of lo-fi doom metal, apparently originating from early contacts with the drone-sludge aesthetics practiced by artists fed from the cocoon of Sunn O))), Khanate projects and some stone age pioneers such as Grief or Godflesh. Funeral doom’s further exposure to dull narratives and the gradual euphemistic tediousness of classical doom, offers a relative explanation for the sometimes frivolous appetite for this new brand of sludge-blackened metal.
Abstracter have harvested under the Californian mucous sun an unpleasant array of body and mind fluids that the band members attempt to incarnate through music. They do not make use of ambiguous semiotics, but choose to plainly burst out in utterances of disgusted humors. The atmosphere built around them is strictly objective and bears a palpable quality, like a real, man-made object. A disturbing alliance with objects seems to dictate their musical writing, so that the listener perceives an uncommon animation of the surrounding materials: the “Walls That Breathe” suggest a immanent stimulus from matter, that alone has the power to give us conscience of our being. And what do we hear exactly? Frankly speaking it’s rather typical genre-wise, and yet it expresses a superb balance between rough sludge-metal tawdriness, churning ambiance and post-rock cynical indifference.
Highly expressive are the shouting clear vocals (reminiscent of Blake Judd’s Nachtmystium), demanding that we hear their desperate urge “To Vomit Crows” (the second track). On a pounding bass/ drums-driven march is superposed a sensible folk chorus, jeopardized by hardcore, defying, raw vocals. A disconcerting sense of attraction derives from this incongruous assembly of elements hinting at Napalm Death’s shrieks, The Black Heart Rebellion’s obtrusive romantic poetry and the uneasy grooving so beloved by American sludgers (of which I mention the two exquisite last offerings from Indian and the more black-inspired Lord Mantis).
In the last track, “Ash”, Abstracter showcases an example of pertaining XXI century doom metal: disdainful crusting, unabashed by lavish atmospheres and unpretentious, just fully tormenting. You will hear the ashes keep falling in grey-sounding landscapes, hail obstructing some out-of-orbit eyes until everything comes to breathe beyond sound and colours, in a profound and choked sigh. The clean vocals hovering above the unresponsive nature speak of a life lived in permanence on the exterior of ourselves. Despite this painful scattering, man is permanently attracted towards its core and still floats around it, in an orbit of ashes from the feathers of his tomb.
Besides the CD and tape formats released through the American label The Path Less Traveled Records , you can find the vinyl version of Tomb of Feathers through Trendkill Records, 7 degrees Records and Shove Records, and admire the artwork signed by Kevin Gan Yuen (Sutekh Hexen). Abstracter deserves appreciation for this harshly gratifying listening, a rough reinterpretation of the live the day motif, so literary enclosed into their motto: A fronte praecipitium a tergo lupi (A precipice in front, wolves behind).