Abominor- Opus: Decay

By Chris Dahlberg

Published on Saturday, October 3, 2015

Iceland may not be the first country that everyone associates with black metal, but there have been plenty of noteworthy releases from bands like Sinmara, Svartidauði, and Misþyrming in recent years (to name a few) that have been worthy explorations of the genre. Abominor can be added to this list as well, as their newest EP Opus: Decay offers listeners the type of twisting and turning material that gets under your skin right from the get go. Though this may only be their second release, Abominor has been around since 2008 and it’s clear they’ve used the lengthier period between their self-released demo in 2010 and Opus: Decay to their advantage based on the strength of songwriting on display.

Opener “474” is the longer of the two pieces, spanning twelve and a half minutes in length. Abominor uses this longer span of time to demonstrate how they’re capable of sending the listener through plenty of twists and turns that take them right into absolute darkness and despair, as the first five minutes plods along at a slower pace with dissonant melodies that spread slowly. As the layers begin to build the atmosphere is so murky and thick that it threatens to completely engulf the listener and drag them down into it. I would’ve been content had the instrumentalists chosen to stick with this slower, dissonant approach for the entire EP but the sudden, fluid transition into chaotic blasting and violent riffing is what really puts this piece over the top. It’s unexpected the first time you make your way through Opus: Decay yet isn’t overly jarring, instead taking the ominous, dread inducing melodies and whipping them up into a hurricane. While shorter in length, the title track has this same interplay between slower atmospheric moments and fast walls of blasting and destructive force, which is what makes Abominor so appealing. It also helps that their strong compositions are bolstered by production values which make the instrumentation even thicker and give a real sense of weight to every individual element.

While the depth of the instrumental work leaves a lasting impression, what really put Abominor over the top was the vocal performance. One of the main reasons for this is that the screams pick up in intensity as the rest of the band does, starting off as a stretched out scream/growl during the melodic sections before hitting a commanding scream that has real bite to it during the most hectic passages. Although the pitches don’t deviate that much from what you’d expect from a black metal record, there’s just so much intensity and overwhelming emotion behind every word that you can’t help but be completely captivated by what is blaring out of your speakers. Abominor’s ability to have their vocals ebb and flow in a similar manner to the instrumentation makes a significant difference, and it’s an element I expect will continue to be showcased in their future material.

Opus: Decay strikes that perfect balance between ominous melodies that feel genuinely unsettling and dissonant blasting that sounds like the world is about to completely crumble into nothingness. The two tracks flow perfectly into each other and there is plenty of substance between the pieces to keep listeners returning for more. It will be interesting to see how Abominor translates this over to a longer full length as there is the risk of stretching things out too far, but based on the strength of this effort it seems like they’ll be capable of rising to the challenge and are another Icelandic black metal band you’ll want to familiarize yourself with.


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