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In their charming graves. - 70%

GrizzlyButts, March 18th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2018, CD, Terror from Hell Records (Digipak)

Italian doom metal and it’s many horror themed psychedelic doorways offers the kind of gloom and terror that, if avoided too long, sends me into violent seizures of withdrawal. Without the spooking, the moaning, the skeletons crunching underfoot thrilling me on a semi-regular basis I grow hollowed and distant. Well, that is all a huge stupid lie. I mean, I dogged Abysmal Grief’s ass hard in a review for their ‘Feretri’ album years ago because they didn’t spook me, shake me or curse me hard enough. I came around a bit more on ‘Strange Rites of Evil’ mainly because I saw it called “Castlevania doom” and they’d strongly improved in terms of production at that point.

To make matters even more dire, in 2018 all life on earth has been reduced to darkness and masses of glowing sets of yellow eyes (just… hallucinate with me for a second?) and there are two professions left: Those who cower in fear, and those who grind the organ while meting out terror at a premium. Abysmal Grief are top-shelf in terms of many-headed beast-like doom metal aimed at luring victims in to hear their organs grind and guitar riffs growl as they hiss and gurgle their language of gloom and despair. The spiraling cathedral-ized organs and soul-souring violin licks of ‘Blasphema Secta’ really drive home what an inspired nightmare their music has evolved into. It is their finest album to date.

The violin has (probably) never been used with such appropriate impact in Gothic death/doom than in the opening track “Behold the Corpse Revived” and whoa step aside Acid Witch because the hellish carnival keyboard horror doom of ‘Blasphema Secta’ is truly terrifying and outshining you by comparison these days. It is the kind of music you hear walking through a deserted town at night when you first see a blood-stained zombie shambling towards you. You know your time is up and as you’re feeling that wild adrenaline spike through your guts into your diarrhea filled pants, the stench of your own dread takes over. I mean, that’s what I would imagine would happen, anyhow.

In fact Abysmal Grief’s gothic flavored death/doom isn’t quite as gothy as one might expect as the tone remains sinister and driven by the ultimate in pipe-organ keyboard grinding. The riffs here take from doom metal and classic heavy metal and aren’t so mired in more predictable tremolo picked sections or blasting double bass drumming. In many ways the skeleton of Abysmal Grief is rooted in the type of doom and prog-metal that their country-mates pioneered in the late 80’s. ‘Blasphema Secta’ ultimately takes me for a wild ride and the keyboard lead journey is fraught with riff terrors and anti-Christian sardonic fury that is endlessly appealing.