REVIEW: Abstracter – “Cinereous Incarnate”

Abstracter’s latest release Cinereous Incarnate has the atmosphere that one would no doubt feel if they’d gotten lost in the woods, been beaten by a bear, and passed out from dehydration. It is probably the most wonderfully bleak and oppressive album I’ve experienced myself in 2018. As I continue to unlock its layers, it will become a contender in my end of year list, that I am sure of. It is harrowing, gritty, and sends you on a verifiable path to utter madness through its pulsating layers and hopelessness.

I find myself writing about doom again, the genre continuing its fine display from 2017 into the middle of 2018 with no signs of letting up. Abstracter are back for their third full-length, following on their Split EP with Dark Circles released in 2016. They aren’t your standard run of the mill doom band, though. Expect some black metal, crust, noise, dark ambient, and sludge, all wrapped up in a nice psychedelic bow. Their sound comes off as raw, but the production is at a standard which you would expect from a modern metal record.

Listening back, the first thing which struck me about Cinereous Incarnate is how fucking deprived it sounds compared to Wound Empire, their last full-length. Cinereous Incarnate is the feral child of the family, covered in dirt and trapped in a bleak wasteland of hate and despair. The progression seems like a theme looking further back, and it is great to hear how a band can not only stay true to their roots, but challenge themselves to create a new pallet of sound for the listener.

When the opening squeal of the droning guitar kicks in at the beginning of the first track, “Nether”, you get the feeling that you’re in for a rough ride. Madness soon creeps in as the song progresses into a harrowing mix of doom and black metal. I found myself overwhelmed with the bleakness of this album, but it’s a fulfilling bleakness and not one to steer clear of. The summer release date is a funny one for me, as I’ve enjoyed this record much more when the rains been pounding down outside, rather than in the scorching heat.

Bell Witch fans will really enjoy the raw drone and dark ambient parts which infest these songs. I found the lyrical style of the vocalist to line up with stuff I’d heard from Bolt Gun or Doppälgängär, being a harrowing rasp that cuts through the noise of the instruments well. The drums have a brilliant echo to them, especially the snare which you can check out during the middle of “Ashen Reign”, probably my favourite track off the album. The track itself is monstrous, an untamed beast that you think is dead after five minutes but comes back to bite you in the ass again and again. I love the atmosphere when they bring the crusty doom towards the end of the album; a true descent into the depths of Hades.

“Wings Of Annihilation” sounds like they might let you off with an ambient, less intense track. I can almost see the band laughing to themselves as they concocted this infernal potion for you to consume. It roars back into a familiar barrage after a minute, the band launching into a trademark ten-minute epic that transcends the reality of the human mind. This song has a sound more like their older works, so longtime fans of Abstracter should certainly check out this beast.

If you were looking for the lighter side of doom that we’ve been posting as of late, this isn’t for you. If you want to crash into the chaos realm and experience 45 minutes of darkness, then this is right up your street. Personally, while I appreciate this album for all of its magnificent musicianship, I don’t think I’ll be listening to it much until the winter months are upon us and my mind warms up to this kind of doom metal again.

The band have certainly improved and developed their sound from their last albums. They’ve excelled at adding more of these devastating layers to their sound whilst not overcomplicating the mix. The atmosphere on Cinereous Incarnate sets the scene far better than the one on their previous full-length Wound Empire, and does a much better job at submerging you into the filth of the album. I’d like to see more development in the black metal segments. Those did come across as kind of flat to me, which was due to the drums more than anything.

Yesterday when I sat down to carve out this review, I actually found myself too mentally overwhelmed by the music to fully put pen to paper, which is something I haven’t had with a band I actually enjoy. Words failed me as I tried to disseminate my own maddening thoughts from my journalistic ones as Cinereous Incarnate smashed down around me. Even the interludes on this album are as depraved as the rest, and reminded me greatly of one of my favourites from last year, Opium Eater. I fully endorse you picking up this record and jamming it in whatever fashion you see fit, be it in the summery months, or when the roads are frozen and you despise everything the universe throws at you.


Score: 8.5/10

Notable Tracks: “Ashen Reign”; “Wings of Annihilation”; “Nether”

FFO: Bell Witch, Bolt Gun, Opium Eater

Check out Abstracter on Facebook and pre-order Cinereous Incarnate on their Bandcamp.

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