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Cannelloni & Manicotti Doom pt. II: Spooky! - 84%

Metantoine, May 22nd, 2014

Formed in 1995, it took them more than ten years to release their debut album but Abysmal Grief certainly knows how to take their time and craft well written doom metal. In the purest Italian tradition, their sound is greatly influenced by horror imagery and soundscapes. I mean, the label that released this album is called “Horror Records”, big hint!

Misfortune, their second full length is top notch quality stuff. It's hard to define it as a traditional doom metal album even though it can't hardly fit any other categories except perhaps that vague dark metal tag that I prefer to avoid. The slow heavy doom riffs are joined by a huge organ presence adding a layer of unparallelled ominous atmosphere. This satanic rites aura is definitely helped by the subtle samples used sporadically throughout the album. The vocals are certainly yet another step towards Satan's approval, they're deep, mysterious and quite harsh without falling into extreme metal territories.

One could say that Abysmal Grief is Gothic metal in the truest sense of the genre, it's dark, creepy but it has this fun feeling through and through that can recall the irreverent humour of Type O Negative, a band that wasn't afraid to mix Sabbathesque doom with gothic tendencies. The songs are quite lengthy like the excellent nine minutes “Cadaver Devotion”, it's slow with repetitive riffs and can recall the traditional doom scene of Finland or even the slowest Saint Vitus tracks. It's fairly simple underneath the layers of thick, romantic keys. Of course it doesn't need to be complex at all, you're reading a review part of a doom series after all.

We can link the band to a newer one called Acid Witch with the way they build their songs and add an enjoyable horror movies to their formula. The American band is also adding a fair load of extreme metal heavyness though, Abysmal Grief doesn't need any of that to deliver the goods. The atmosphere such a simple recipe offers is simply marvellous, the last thirteen minutes song “Resurrecturis” ends with one riff repeated till it's time for a sort of creepy lullaby that delivers the final blow. They're also quite good at delivering songs without vocals such as the seven minutes instrumental juggernaut “Knells of Accurse” containing many background sampled vocals. I don't think their songs are overlong either and at around forty five minutes, Misfortune doesn't waste any time and you shouldn't either, get into this band right now.

Quite recommended for fans of trad doom with a scary, gothic twist.

P.S.: the members are all dressed like some sort of evil priests, don't let your kids near them.

Metantoine's Magickal Realm