without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
I know, I know I've been on a massive NoEvDia bent recently but over the next couple of reviews I'm going to try and shed some light on projects from smaller burgeoning scenes (or those that are generally weak), as such I present Abide Therein a black metal band hailing from Syria and of all places in Syria, Damascus. Nice to know that the seeds of hate can still blossom in such a 'Holy' place.
Abide Therein play black metal combining traditional musical influence with the legacy of the Norwegian scene and whilst this debut may not be perfect (and without sounding condescending) this is a competent release from a country where one would not always expect quality or original material to be generated from.
Abide Therein's approach is pretty traditional toward black metal, there is a lot of 2nd wave Norsecore worship, the album is awash with tremolo riffs that hark towards bands such as Mayhem, 1349, Marduk and Gorgoroth; riffs with a darker approach than more melodious 2nd wave bands. There is some nice lead-work that occurs throughout the album (Oscenità has some beautiful guitarwork) but it is not centre stage and evidently the band feel comfortable to have songs with or without solos, it is a joy to behold when a band have confidence in their music to know when to add certain elements and when to leave compositions be. Basslines on the album although not markedly prominent all the time do occasionally make themselves known (Lachrymation Murder for example) and they're more than competent, diverting between following guitar work and weaving their own textures within the songs. Drums for this release are programmed, this is not something I have a problem with personally, as I have mentioned before in other reviews, if done right programmed drums can be barely noticeable and will not make you long for a human drummer. The programming is decent, lots of variation and 'human' accentuation although it can be detected rather easily the inorganic nature of the drums, this is a minor foible however and doesn't detract from the experience of the album. Vocals on the album are competent, I can't say they are anything special but the vocalist does have a good grasp on how to manipulate his voice and variations on the standard black growl are utilised to add more texture to the whole affair. Now is where the album enters into its greatest asset and strength, the implementation of traditional instruments, namely the oud and the darbuka, the songs where these instruments make themselves known are the strongest on the album and lend character to an album that otherwise would be little more than Norsecore worship and would offer little to earn the band a place in the history books of black metal.
The songs generally go on long meandering affairs and whilst there is some variation I have to confess that I have one major gripe with the album, riffs can seem to play for a bit too long, dragging the course of the songs on quite a bit with not enough variety; all but one song are over 6:40 with the others leaning more towards the 8 minute mark.
The production for the album is satisfactory, whilst not crystal clear clarity it is more than accessible and not particularly raw, a characteristic I enjoy personally; some atmosphere is nice but a completely distorted 4-track recording with the worst equipment generally puts your music beyond review as it makes it impossible to tell if what is being played is good or not, especially in the age that we live in now, 'nekro' sound had its time but there is little excuse for it in 2012. The mix, once again not sublime but adequate, guitars could possibly be a bit lower in the mix, with bass and vocals raised a bit higher.
Overall the album is a success, it is always great to see bands from new scenes emerge trying to forge their own sound and put their own stamp on the genre, black metal needs innovators or it is doomed to die, Abide Therein whilst not revolutionary are at least trying to put their own spin on black metal, the native instrument parts may seem too brief and far between but when they make an appearance it's a joy to witness something different in an otherwise stale genre.
I look forward to seeing where this band will go with their next endeavour and can only hope that they continue to exploit their heritage to its full value and utilise more indigenous instrumentation as that is where the band's true promise lies.
(Originally written for baileysmmcreamy.blogspot.com)