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Unique in its kind and definitely one of the best (if not the best) Symphonic black metal album of the 90’s, In Abhorrence Dementia was something quite bizarre and special in this period for the black metal scene.
Even-though Moon in the Scorpio was an amazing debut, it didn’t quite get the characteristics that this one has, it was a little too much in some aspects while this record has a perfect balance between the noise and the melodic parts for a very special type of band such as Limbonic Art.
Just think about it, Daemon and Morfeus were just two guys who wanted to make a pretty complex symphonic band in which they added several elements in almost every single song such as different types of vocals, a good variety of classical elements, percussion, dense guitar and bass effects, electronic and even nature and space sounds. At the moment you think about all of these combinations put together without knowing their background, you may immediately think that it is a requirement to have at least four band members with some or many guest musicians in order to do so. In fact I’ve met some who first listen to the band and believe it is a four or five piece symphonic band such as Anorexia Nervosa when as a matter of fact it is a duo.
Of course many “elitists” criticize this album and the band in general claiming that it is not black metal enough to use midi instruments like a drum machine instead of a real drummer or to use violins, flutes, pianos and other classical instruments samples instead of playing the real thing. Well I do believe that Limbonic Art made an excellent job here, whereas you have parts like the ending of “when mind and flesh departs” where the use of a drum machine is very notorious, in the majority of the other tracks many people can’t really tell if it is a drum machine instead of a real drummer playing (the funny part is when you tell people before they listen and they always tell you it’s super obvious that those are the sounds of a drum machine, hahahahha).
As you can guess from the score I gave to this album, I consider that there is not a single bad track, it is just unbelievable how much inspiration Morfeus and Daemon had in that period of their lives for making this masterpiece a reality, some claim that the guitars in the entire album are pure noise and they filled the gaps with the programming of the classical sounds but I think that when you mix that with their lyrics, the structure of the songs, the guttural and the clean vocals, it just gives you a totally dark, mysterious and even cosmic sound that is way different from bands that were more in the spotlight such as Emperor or Old Man’s Child.
Even-though, I am convinced that this album reached all the expectations the band had at the moment, which includes a dense dark atmosphere, well written lyrics that include satanism and what is beyond death, diversity (which is pretty hard to obtain with this kind of music) and catchy parts, I know that this is not the kind of metal for everyone, even for long time black metal lovers.
Limbonic art has never been the type of band that plays on festivals, appears on documentaries or has any type of interaction with their fans in the social networks (they didn’t even made an official website for the band in all these years), they have always lived like pure misanthropists, not like many other bands that claim they are misanthropists and at the same time are dying to have as many interviews and articles as possible in the metal media.
Maybe because of that, is that Limbonic Art was able to make honest records like In Abhorrence Dementia, records where everything they made came from the inside and was just what they wanted to be without following any stereotypes like many unsuccessful bands did and unfortunately still do. Maybe it is because of that that the band doesn’t appeal to all black metal lovers, in other words they were very original.
In my opinion this is the best Limbonic art release by far and I really don’t know what type of magic they had in the first 3 albums because they are just incredible, totally different from what Daemon is doing with the Limbonic Art name nowadays witch is a shame in my very own opinion.
The entire album is great as I mentioned above but my favorite tracks are:
Descend to Oblivion, A Venomous Kiss of Profane Grace, When Mind and Flesh Departs, Deathtrip to a Mirage Asylum and Misanthropic Spectrum.
Definitely a must have in your collection.
Having heard most of Limbonic Art's discography, I can safely say that while the rest of their work, while quite good, is not essential. In Abhorrence Dementia is. Considering when this was made, this is some really forward-thinking stuff. In addition to heavy symphonic use, which is Limbonic Art's trademark, these maestros experimented with more electronic-based sounds, and it is done quite masterfully here. This is truly an album that breaks the mold of 90's black metal quite well.
First off, the drums are obviously programmed. On their debut, The Moon in the Scorpio, the drums were for the most part imitating real drums. On IAD, Limbonic Art start taking advantage of the programmed drums, incorporating industrial and electro rock beats in the mix, in addition to the usual blastbeats and double bass. Samples and programmed synths are used much more on IAD than their debut, and it is used to great effect here. This creates a much different atmosphere than most black metal, one that I rarely ever hear in black metal.
Indeed, the atmosphere on IAD is one that is definitely more "modern" than black metal's traditional reverence to the past. Indeed, one song I found where this was most present was Where Mind and Flesh Depart, but this is present on the whole album. The symphonics give it an 19th century European feel, but the electronics bring it clearly into this century. I wish Limbonic Art had pursued this path a bit more on subsequent albums, but this review isn't about those albums. Simply put, this is a gem. It is not perfect, and some songs are weaker than others, but it is still head and shoulders above the competition. I would recommend this to anyone who is a fan of symphonic black metal.
In Abhorrence Dementia is an album I've listened to for many years and I can definitely say it's one of the more unique metal albums I've ever listened to. Limbonic Art deserves much praise for putting in so much effort into a seventy minute album. That said, there's a lot in In Abhorrence Dementia (IAD) that will turn off a lot of metal listeners, but on the other hand, there's so much here that if you enjoy only a little bit at first, the rest of the album will really grow on you and stay in your playlist for years. It certainly has for me, at least.
You may recall Limbonic Art's debut, Moon in the Scorpio, which featured unusually longer tracks with not too much variation, but an engrossing atmosphere with a smooth transitions between tracks. It was quite an artistic release, but their second album, IAD, expands on what made Moon in the Scorpio so great and goes into many different directions.
In Abhorrence Dementia is commonly referred to as a symphonic black metal album, but compared to albums of other bands, I don't really know how true that is and thus shouldn't be considered an example of that genre. Well, for one thing, it's hardly black metal. The production is very clear and the music is very light on the ears. There aren't any hateful vibes being produced in the music. The vocals are shrieky - that's it. In fact, it's hardly an example of what most people refer to as symphonic black metal. IAD has very little in common with works from bands like Nokturnal Mortum, Dimmu Borgir, Emperor, Anorexia Nervosa, Finnugor - these bands all vary but this Limbonic Art album is very different from all of them. I would say IAD sounds like something from Sirius or Obsidian Gate or Apotheosis, but it's more likely Limbonic Art influenced those projects anyway.
Ultimately there's a lot on IAD. Including bonus tracks, the total run time is well over seventy minutes. Most tracks are around the 7 minute mark with only a few exceptions. This begs a few questions - how badly does the album lag and/or how fresh can these songs be if there's so much on the album? It turns out these songs don't lag and they still remain fresh after years because Limbonic Art has created a certain atmosphere that is distinctly different from many other bands and it's all executed by competent songwriting involving a decent amount of spontaneity. The production makes the music sound very loose and light so it's never in your face all the time. It's all still heavy, but it all feels controlled at the same time.
The main reason I continue to flock to IAD is because of its diversity in atmospheres. The first two tracks, the title track and A Demonoid Virtue, have a space-like, nocturnal atmosphere but they sound more influenced by the sci-fi stereotypes as space as opposed to the cold, minimalist nature of the universe. Then there are songs like Deathtrip to a Mirage Asylum and Abyssmal Necromacy that remind me a hot summer day. The former is an absolute masterpiece that utilizes a solemn and dense synth introduction, but when the main song starts, it's quite an adventerous ride that takes you in places you don't expect, including an awesome clean vocal chorus in the beginning. This is pretty epic stuff as its a nice surprise, but very fitting and makes that song that much more memorable. Abyssmal Necromacy sounds like some sea-faring anthem, using very catchy ideas with a great chorus backed up by fantastic female vocals. Then there are tracks like Behind the Mask Obscure - this song has a very unforgettable introduction that shows how regal Limbonic Art can be in their ideas. Those two minutes sound like a symphony old-fashioned people would pay a killing to go see. That's really just the tip of the iceberg. Since there are so many great songs on this album, I'm constantly forgetting about a few of them only to rediscover them again and be entertained. If I could describe the general feel of this album, it's extremely animated. The music has a lot of 'character' without being too quirky or being a novelty act. It's theatrical, adventerous, fresh, and majestic. Limbonic Art have created a fantasy world, and In Abhorrence Dementia is that journey through all the areas of that world.
As far as flaws go, I can't really think of any that hurt the music. Any potential improvements would probably compromise the soul of this music. Sometimes the vocals sound funny, but ultimately it's not a big deal as I think they fit the mood most of the time. The riffs, bass, and drum (machine) never really stand out for any particular areas, but that's not really the point. At worst, the album does sound cheaply produced, but without that, IAD would lose its animated and lively feel.
There won't be another album similar to In Abhorrence Dementia, either from Limbonic Art or some other band. It's really unique and offers a lot of surprises. It's a big album, but you don't have to listen to it all at once. There will be many people who hate this album for the same reasons of why I think it's great. But it's a one of a kind experience and the right audience will eat this up from the start. It's been one of my favorite albums for years, but not without good reasons. Check this out now!
Highlights: Deathtrip to a Mirage Asylum, When Mind and Flesh Depart, In Abhorrence Dementia.
The first album had its share of problems mainly dealing with the production imbalance, distortion, and overall sloppiness. Here they manage to fix a couple of these problems while keeping (and venturing) into ones that, again, kill the whole experience and make for another album equal the worst of Chinese torture methods.
Thankfully, this follow-up isn’t as distorted as the debut, which means the riffs can be heard rather clearly. This brings out more of that dark atmosphere with riffs that are very sharp and crunchy, showing a whole new side to this band that completely redeems their job on the debut. The keys only contradict their sadistic style, and here is where this album really bites the dust. Aside from being overused again, they sound like the most processed, obnoxious, and childish keys I’ve ever heard on any album. It sounds like something you’d find at the store for little kids or in some preschool classroom – it’s a toy keyboard! While being the clearest part of the album, I cringe every time I hear them because they just sound so out of place when the rest of the music sounds so sinister.
Variation is still a problem, since every song sounds the same and on average they’re longer than the ones on the debut; that means padding even longer songs with the same monotonous formula. Vocally the band is still kicking it with those high and mighty tortured screams, which go hand-in-hand more with the riffs this time around. The clean vocals still are deep and cheesy, which detract from the atmosphere and energy that the songs attempt to construct when surging through their respective tracks. Drumming still amounts to nothing but triggered double bass blasting away with some rhythm combo produced from a machine – it still sounds like machinegun fire. Its always bombastic and sometimes becomes your only means of following the music properly. The fact that the bass backs up the guitars in this endeavor is the last ray of hope for this album, but the overwhelming power of the crumbling atmosphere kills the effort.
The whole album doesn’t amount to anything, drags on for far too long, has a very tiring atmosphere, and once again fails to please me in either black or symphonic branches. The keys belong in a different genre, the band needs to rethink their formula, and the songs need to be shorter – the whole thing is a mess that sounds amateurish and forced upon the listener, which is something that I find impossible to sit through and enjoy. Pass this one up and go for something that’ll put this band in its place (Blut Aus Nord, Gorgoroth, etc. – you get the picture).
Too often an album is reviewed after only a few listens. This temptation befalls not only zealous fanboys and “noobies”, but also the more literate demands of a zine reviewer. I had belonged to both classes of writers, but after a long hiatus I have returned with a new idea of what it means to justly encapsulate an album’s merit into words. So I begin with In Abhorrence Dementia, one of few albums I have given so much devotion to fully understand and appreciate.
For the span of a year I honored Limbonic Art as my favorite band. I immersed myself in their works, giving every detail its due. At this moment only a fraction has withstood the test of time. Moon in the Scorpio captivates me with a transcendent aura, while Ad Noctum provides a malevolent catharsis to my deepest hatred. But in between these opuses comes the masterstroke, the pinnacle of complexity and creative energy: In Abhorrence Dementia.
I came to understand this monument not only as Black Metal or even symphonic Black Metal, but as the transcendence of the former and the quintessence of the latter. Imagine Black Metal as Judaism and symphonic Black Metal as Christianity. Limbonic Art as saviors have resurrected from the ashes of the 2nd wave a fresh interpretation of extreme music. They sculpt the maligned dualism of SBM not into a unity of opposites but a colossal symphony. For as Beethoven expanded the classical orchestra, Limbonic Art count guitars and percussion not as the base elements but as just another rank of instruments: stops on the console.
Such a paradigm is unique to In Abhorrence Dementia, where on other albums the standard Metal template was favored. That’s not to say the aesthetic is gone; punishing drumbeats, atmospheric guitars and banshee vocals pervade the massive soundscape this album conveys. Through this ether the orchestra weaves melodies and harmonies at multiple levels. For example, the flutes take center stage opening songs like “Descend to Oblivion” while the piano shines on “A Demonoid Virtue”. The full range of synthesized instruments work in ensemble rather than taking turns backing up the guitars. One could listen to this album ten times and focus on a different layer each time.
This diversity flows with remarkable consistency, from ambient passages to majestic climaxes. The latter of which often demonstrates the best use of clean vocals in Black Metal (i.e. the title track). It runs the gamut of emotions, from brooding darkness to apocalyptic glory, to carnivalesque insanity. A church organist once called this the “soundtrack to a Hieronymous Bosch painting.” It is a must for any metalhead inclined toward classical music. So rarely is the synchronization of extreme metal and classical music so deftly executed: Limbonic Art’s finest hour.
I heard of Limbonic Art a while ago, but never really paid to much attention to them. I then ended up stumbling upon them here a while ago and noticed their high ratings. It was then I decided that I should check them out. The first track I downloaded was Behind the Mask Obscure, which besides the brilliant symphonic intro, didn't offer much. I then decided that Limbonic Art were another over rated band.
I'm not exactly sure what possessed me to download the remainder of this album, let's just say I'm glad I did. I guess I was in the mind frame of "that many people can't be wrong right?”
After my first listen to this album, I was under the impression that the band really was overrated, it had its moments, but overall had nothing that was absolutely breathtaking. I then decided to listen to this album again and started to thoroughly enjoy it.
Since then, I have listened to this album several times. So what sets Limbonic Art, apart from other symphonic black metal like Dimmu Borgir, I mean both use orchestral music in their songs and are can play their instruments extremely well. If you look at it at it in a purely definitive way, then the answer is not a lot, as both have complex songs, have symphonic elements and use combine clean vocals with black metal vocals. So why do Dimmu Borgir, on average tend to score much lower than Limbonic Art? Well the synths in Dimmu Borgir's music tend to be irksome and poorly composed sometimes, while with Limbonic art, this is never the case. Apart from that, I'm not too sure myself.
In Abhorrence Dementia is a very technical and complex album, which alone should earn respect. The guitar riffing is extremely technical and only a very talented musician could play the riffs. The drumming is done by a drum machine, which has caused some controversy. I'm not exactly sure why this is so, seeing how the drumming on this album is, as the guitar riffs extremely technical and only very talented drummers could play the beats on this album.
In Abhorrence Dementia also contains both clean vocals and black metal vocals. Admittedly, the vocals aren't that great by no means are they bad and they suit the music so there isn't really much of a problem there.
Each song is filled with symphonic elements that give the album quite a nice and graceful touch. A specific example of this is the intro to the song of Behind the Mask Obscure, which contains a two-minute symphonic intro, which is quite nice and beautiful. Frankly, in my opinion, the symphonic elements are why this band is so highly praised, as the music wouldn't be so breathtaking without it.
Next, the lyrics are quite well written and interesting. Like Deathspell Omega, they are intelligent lyrics. However, unlike Deathspell Omega's lyrics, which are Satanic, these lyrics explore death and what is beyond. Limbonic Art's lyrics are a reminder to us all, that we will all have to take the plunge one day.
Overall, this is a seriously addictive album, which you have to listen to a few times if you're going to like it. I would recommend you get this, instead of any Dimmu Borgir's releases after Darkness Enthrone Triumphant.
Conclusion: The above is recommended for download or purchase