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A chaotic shoot for the stars - 93%

MacMoney, July 6th, 2011

Musical genius is a term that gets thrown around quite a lot. While music critics definitely wouldn't call the trio that are responsible for creating this maelstrom musical geniuses, they have definitely shown themselves to be very formidable musical writers. It is hard to say which album is exactly their best effort - especially when you include the material they did as Axis of Advance and Rites of Thy Degringolade - but it is undeniable that it is just dazzling how well they managed their style right from the very beginning. Sacramentary Abolishment play a chaotic mixture of death and black metal - nowadays the term war metal is commonly used - that might sound very much like a blur to an unacquainted ear, especially with the kind of rough and raw production the band had to go with. At the time, this kind of metal was rare and only a few bands dabbled in it and most of them were just playing as fast as they could and the chaos was brought forth from that. This was not the way Sacrametary Abolishment went at it though.

Their approach has always been more controllably chaotic than the mindless charge of war metal bands in general. This is even more evident on the Sacramentary Abolishment albums in comparison to Axis of Advance, due to the difference in the drummers. Paulus Kressman is much more varied with a whole load of groove to his playing when he wants to. For Sacramentary Abolishment this is very important due to the prevalent doom influence that their music has. There are a lot of slow- to mid-paced parts where Kressman's drumming really shines, laying down a groovy beat to the more melodic guitar lines laid over those parts. The doom influence mostly is from Thergothon and shows most strongly on the nine-minute Reassessment of Preliminary Defensive Procedures, which is pretty much a funeral doom song. It's not quite as dreary, slow or Lovecraftian as the Thergothon songs it was modeled after, even if the melody lines do capture that feeling of apocalyptic melancholy.

Generally though the drums are full on blastbeat with the guitars roaring in the background: Sometimes in tremolo, more often surprisingly melodic riffs even if those are mostly saved for the mid-paced sections. The blasty sections are usually controlled - along with the drums - by the varied - all three do them - vocals. The most prominent ones are a harsh growl, a sort of mix between higher pitched black metal screams and a lower death metal growl leaning more towards the former. While nothing special, they are executed well and with proficiency, fitting the style of music very well. ATK and eruliaF feature a low murmur, speaking-sounding vocals, probably trying to emulate the vocalist of Thergothon, but failing. They end up sounding comical, which sort of ruin the atmosphere the band is going for.

Sacramentary Abolishment's strength ultimately lies in the majestic, hugely ambitious songwriting. The songs are complex webs of riffs and drums and different sections. The way these are woven together, by a new band on their debut album, is nothing short of miraculous. The band can go from a blastbeat to a funeral doom section without missing a beat and without sounding awkward at all. One thing aiding in this is the band's seamless teamwork. They share the same ideas, same ideology, same philosophy. Their playing just melds together and combined with the astounding song structures, they have created something very unique. Sometimes they bite off more than they can chew though. The aforementioned eruliaF is - fittingly to its name - a bit of a failure. The stop-start stylings of the song begin to grate on one's nerves and breaks the song's flow pretty badly. It feels like a bonus track. But other than that, River of Corticone has very few flaws. One won't get bored listening to this album, if one's ear is at all acquainted and accustomed to this kind of music.