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This album is a probably inevitable but still surprising combination: pseudo-war black metal ala Niden Div. 187 meets the depressive, epic stylings of a band like Draugar. I suppose it's fairly natural when your mind wraps around it a bit; finding sorrow and grandeur in the chaos and terror of war, but the root combination of styles does seem a bit iffy at first sight. More surprising than the idea of them music is that Aboriorth has managed with that combination to create one of the best black metal albums of the past several years. Beneath the long, ungainly title and rather strange musical concept is an immense work, completely deserving of more attention from the black metal community than it's currently getting.
None of the ingredients alone are particularly unique. Aboriorth's music is generally based around slow, mournful tremolo riffs played over a cadence of double bass or thrash beats. Vocals alternate between a very high, almost early Cradle Of Filth screech and a lower voice resembling a combination of Attila circa 'De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas' and Abbath. The production is interesting; its base is rehearsal room and sounds possibly recorded live, but the mixing and mastering has given the overall sound a texture much like Niden Div. 187's only album: very smokey and desolate yet chaotic and intense. It provides the music with the appropriately warlike and sorrowful atmosphere that it needs and conveys it well throughout the disc.
What's remarkable is how well it all goes together. The drumming is extremely notable; the rhythms are laced with richness, with delicate accents and shifting beats and fills providing much more than just a skeleton for the guitars to build upon. But the guitars do certainly take the base of the drums and run with it, carving out precise and evocative riffs with handfuls of tremolo notes. Some of the riffs could almost be described as ultra-dark and bleak versions of those you might find on a Pagan Hammer release; with all the grandeur and epic scope intact but with none of the uplifting melodies. An almost crushing sense of despair envelopes the music, suffocating the listener with the horrors of war and loss through simple yet carefully textured melodies.
The album seems to come in two sides: the first is more melodic and mostly employs the high, screeching voice, while the second half is slower and more misanthropic and generally preoccupied with the low voice as the main vocal body. It's like a decent into some sort of catacombs; the first half is sorrowful but still has a tinge of hope and fear to it while the second is just horribly hopeless, as though the band was taking notes from Ashes. It's a very emotionally intense album, and the fact that it's conjured out of such simple and by all means not especially unique elements is a powerful testament to just how great the songwriting is. While the individual elements are common, the production as a whole is surprisingly unique, and I hope that the band and others will carry this particular idea forward even further in the future.
Aboriorth's debut is an amazing album to come from absolutely nowhere. Every note is incredibly memorable and masterfully crafted, and this album as a whole is really a bright light in a rather dim current black metal scene. Highly recommended to all black metallers interested in something new.