Using their instruments to paint a picture in the mind of post-apocalyptic doom and infinite darkness, the Bay Area’s sludge architects craft a powerful and unforgiving release. Abstracter’s, “Wound Empire,” takes doom and sludge to new atmospheric proportions to where the light is blocked out by endless clouds of dark distorted aggression.
I reviewed their previous release, “Tomb of Feathers,” and remember hearing the band’s desire to create these massive sounding sludgy and haunting musical worlds. Although I have taken my time to finally review this new release, I think after carefully listening to, “Wound Empire,” I have been able to recognize what this band has accomplished and improved upon since their last release. Abstractor’s presentation through their lyrical themes and instrumental compositions is in perfect synchronicity. All the songs interconnect to maintain a solid four track tale of doom. Taking their music in very progressive directions at times, the average song lengths tend to be around ten minutes. Four songs might not seem like enough for an album, but the overall length is equal to that of a punk or thrash album with ten or more tracks.
The album begins with the ominous sun swallowing piece, “Lightless.” Feedback comes pouring out of the speakers followed by a bone chilling build up of guitar, bass and drums. The riffs are sinister yet hypnotic while the harsh vocals narrate over the abysmal instrumental structures. Abstracter consumes all emotion with this song and channels their inner sludge talents. Track two, “Open Veins,” picks up the same raw gloomy vibe as the opening track. I am drawn to the bold sounding chords the band uses and I like how they let certain notes ring to achieve a full guitar sound. The music is of course dark in sound, but there is a harmonious feel that is expressed throughout the piece. At times the haunting atmosphere is almost comforting and welcoming to those who want to travel into a landscape of massive distortion.
Probably one of my favorite songs, “Cruciform,” taps deep into the enormous sludge sounding atmospheric realm of extreme music. The drum parts and guitar riffs inject monumental amounts of energy into the song and shatter these moments of solemn sounding compositions. As the song ends the band unleashes a flurry of musical aggression that slowly fades to set up the following and final track, “Glowing Wounds.” This song contains some more eerie atmospheric elements to add diversity to the band’s overall sound. The creative use of dynamics is what I think separates this album from Abstracter’s last album. “Glowing Wounds” is definitely the track that features some of those strong and noticeable diverse sounding arrangements.
Abstracter’s “Wound Empire” is a great example of how sludge metal can be taken into more than one direction. The music is skillfully arranged while always conveying that post-apocalyptic world covered in darkness sound. Quite possibly one of the best sludge and doom albums to come out in 2015. Definitely an album worth checking out if you are a fan of sludge metal and sounds that could inspire imagery of eternal world devastation.
Band's Facebook Page: https://www.facebook.com/abstracter/?fref=ts