Abstracter engulf listeners in bleak, suffocating darkness on their third full-length record, Cinereous Incarnate.
Those who have been following Oakland’s Abstracter for some time now will not be entirely surprised by the direction they take on their newest effort. Since the release of their first album, Tomb of Feathers, back in 2012, the blackened sludge/doom outfit have been on a steady path towards all encompassing darkness. The band began to hone in on the darker, more dismal aspects of their sound on the melancholic Wound Empire in 2015, and even more so on their 2016 split with Dark Circles. With Cinereous Incarnate, the band’s gradual evolution towards claustrophobic despair reaches its apex with roughly 44 minutes of sonic oppression.
Although not as dynamic as its predecessor Wound Empire, Cinereous Incarnate‘s succeeds in its goal of creating an overwhelmingly apocalyptic sounding atmosphere. The record is comprised of four main, lengthy compositions separated by a couple of short, dark ambient interludes. Each track bleeds seamlessly into one another, resulting in an unyielding barrage of cold, unforgiving sound.
Cinereous Incarnate is bookended by two blistering and bleak tracks entitled “Nether” and “Devouring Night”, both of which clock-in a few seconds shy of 10 minutes. Both tracks weave in-and-out of blast beat driven stampedes and monolithic doom marches throughout their duration. Quick bursts of murky black metal, which seem to echo crust at times, swallow listeners in their cacophonous assaults only to spit them back out to be crushed by dreary, dissonant doom that thunders with each chord. Cavernous vocals maintain a malevolent presence over these tracks, while somber, atmospheric melodies and ambiance remind the listener that all hope is lost.
The bulk of the record is comprised of two 11-minute compositions titled “Ashen Reign” and “Wings of Annihilation”. These tracks behave much like the cuts that begin and end the record, but on a much larger scale. “Ashen Reign” features cataclysmic doom, enveloped in walls of caustic feedback and spectral ambiance, that transitions into mid-paced sludge and black metal esque discord. Everything gradually builds to a wall of choking sound in which the instrumentation writhes within thick miasmas of blackened atmosphere like a beast from Lovecraftian lore, only for one of its appendages to snag the listener and drag them toward oblivion.
“Wings of Annihilation” begins with a tension-building, haunting chord progression that marches along while siren-like feedback wails overhead. Soon said chord progression is infused with distortion and the song embarks on a doom-laden path that builds in speed before crusty, grimy black metal rushes in to get its fill of the listener’s blood. The song then dials back the speed and morphs into a sprawling, dissonant lurch rife with darkened, noisy soundscapes, which eventually paves the way for the malicious, churning black metal to return for the song’s destructive climax.
For over 40 minutes, Abstracter entrap listeners in a musical realm devoid of any light or hope. Cinereous Incarnate is the soundtrack to giving up.
Release Date: June 8, 2018
Label: Sentient Ruin/Vendetta Records/Tartarus Records
Favorite Tracks: “Ashen Reign” and “Wings of Annihilation”
For Fans Of: Cult of Occult, Northless, Bereft and Body Void