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Another masterpiece from Down Under - 83%

immortalshadow666, February 7th, 2007

I have to admit that it’s been far too long between buying, and reviewing, this little Australian gem.

For those unfamiliar, Abramelin is a project from Australia that was mistreated – undergoing a ridiculous amount of line-up changes, instability and such, when the music was quite good. The music in question, is a tribute to old-school straight-up death metal, but with hints of melody and even a slight groove. Audible vocals that, with a lyrics booklet, can actually be deciphered, also a pleasant change from the usual overly guttural vocals in death metal.

The story goes that Abramelin, somewhat of a supergroup, released an album that was, at the time, the pinnacle of DM. Extremely offensive lyrics resulted in the album being pulled from the stores in most states. This only served to fuel the desire and publicity, and the band became immensely popular in the underground. Facing a big challenge with only two members used to record on this album, Simon Dower on vocals, and Tim Aldrige on instruments, after four years, “Deadspeak” was released and it is superior on every level to the one that got Abramelin their career start.

The technicality, whilst still retaining its firmly old-school roots, has advanced hugely on this release. The guitar work is less straight forward chords and has become much more tremolo-based picking, but still not the “hyper-fast” which, while good in some cases, I imagine wouldn’t really fit Abramelin’s music.

Guitar solos on the album deserve their own section. The soloing is just incredible. It’s quite simple for solo work, but it’s beautifully melodic, and effective. It’s done with precision, yet without self-indulgent wankery. They’re impeccable really – just done so well, and the simple riffing that often accompanies it makes the experience even better. Listen especially to the solo on “Waste” and you’ll see what I mean.

Lyrical matter is fairly filthy, as could be expected. Opening “Pleasures” is one of the most obscene songs ever written, surely! The written material is not for those with a weak heart or an easily upset stomach, but could we expect anything less from a band whose first album was pulled due to lyrical content?

Another highlight is that for a death metal album, you’ll get lots of bang for your buck. There are only 7 tracks, but they are all very long, at least half of them beating the 5-minute mark – with the album clocking in at about 40 minutes. But very little of those 40 minutes are anything even close to filler, or undesirable to listen to.

The absolute major standout track of the album is the epic album closer, “Plague”. This song is just one of the most brilliantly crafted and well-thought out songs ever written. Starting with an absolutely beautiful acoustic guitar and cello piece, “Plague” is a mid-tempo song, but it doesn’t take away from the intensity. It just has so many amazingly well written riffs that are catchy, ferociously violent, and groovy at the same time, most especially the one that starts at 6:32 – one of the best riffs ever written, and then when it gets a harmony added to it – just you try and not bang your head to it.

Summing up, this album should be heard at any cost. Old-school gore, ferocity and violence has never collaborated with melody and beauty so well, and may never again.

Points detracted for a slightly irritating drum machine, and some inconsistency in the quality of the music. But all in all, one of the best and most underground releases ever, by one of the least-known supergroups ever – just good luck to you trying to find it.

Stand out tracks, starting with the best:
Plague
Pleasures
Flesh Furnace
Your Casualty