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Coronation of dark victory. - 70%

Diamhea, August 14th, 2013

I am certain I am in the minority in my opinion that Limbonic Art's later material is superior to their bombastic, keyboard-laden first two releases. I consider Ad Noctum - Dynasty of Death to be their masterpiece. However, most people look to In Abhorrence Dementia, the band's sophomore album, as the pinnacle of the Norwegian duo's work. While certainly a very ambitious slab of symphonic black metal with plenty of unique electronic elements, does it hold up to the rest of Limbonic Art's catalogue?

Naturally, the answer is more complicated than a simple yes or no. At well over an hour long, In Abhorrence Dementia is without a doubt extremely ambitious, with an average song length somewhere between a preposterous seven to eight minutes! The album's bread and butter consists of a bevy of electronic effects and simple, yet driving keyboard lines supplemented by a surprisingly atypical guitar performance for the genre. While we have the typical droning, dissonant guitar progressions characteristic of the style, there are an equal number of thrashy breaks and chugging gallops that are, if anything, a sign of things to come regarding the band's impressive riff craft on later albums.

As impressive as the six-strings may be, they still play second fiddle to the keyboards. The artificial nature of the keys is hard to hide, yet it almost becomes a style in and of itself considering the electronic, ambient nature of the atmosphere being conveyed here. Electronic drum beats are layered over the -obviously- programmed drums, resulting in a very unique symphonic atmosphere. While the keyboards utilize patches emulating organic instruments like the pan flute, a totally different atmosphere is summoned once set next to the driving guitars and wailing vocals. While it can be said that the string sound never fully satisfies, it spends a lot of its time on the lower register, resulting in a throbbing, bass-heavy pattern most evident on "When Mind and Flesh Departs".

The infamous electronic drum kit, while programmed with zeal and fervor, ends up wearing thin due to the unusual selection of drum samples. There is a certain crash cymbal that always stands out like a sore thumb and is endlessly spammed at the end of every drum fill; it becomes predictable and irritating quickly. The primary vocal assault is impressive, as per Daemon. The clownish wails are highly unwelcome, however, and always end up neutering the sinister overtones in short order. In contrast, the operatic cleans are well-executed, and add some much-needed dynamic to the vocal approach.

The songwriting, while enterprising, has plenty of thin points at the seams, and there are many awkward joins where sections just don't seem to flow naturally. Many tracks build and release tension effectively, such as "Misanthropic Spectrum" and "Deathtrip to a Mirage Asylum"; but several of the shorter tracks fail to inspire fully. "A Venomous Kiss of Profane Grace" is a good example of the pattern prevalent here, a great intro and buildup ends up blowing its load early and never bothers to slow down again to gather itself. In a shorter song this may be forgivable, but a seven minute track has to have more going for it to justify the protracted length.

In the end, the atmosphere of rotten, evil darkness is definitely present here, and at least a few of these tracks can go head to head against some of the band's best from the Ad Noctum - Dynasty of Death era, but too much scattershot ambition ends up costing In Abhorrence Dementia dearly. A valiant effort, but definitely not for everybody.

A crowning jewel of achievement - 95%

The_Ghoul, July 17th, 2012

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.

Adventerous - 100%

PhantomMullet, November 23rd, 2011

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.

Onward To The Recycle Bin! (Part III) - 24%

OzzyApu, November 25th, 2009

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).

Limbonic Art's Finest Hour - 97%

Zephyrus, January 22nd, 2009

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 can't put this fucking album down! - 100%

WilliamAcerfeltd, July 16th, 2007

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