ABYSSUS - DEATH REVIVAL
REVIVAL? DID IT EVER GO AWAY?
A lot has happened since the golden era of death metal in the late ‘80s and early '90s. Not just in music of course, but globally. The fall of communism, war, mass displacement of refugees, 9/11, global financial collapse, the internet, Covid - we could go on. Despite the scale or profundity of change these events brought to humankind as it transitioned into a new millennium, there is a strand of death metal that - throughout it all - steadfastly refuses to bother with evolution. The only difference is nowadays you can stream it. The rampaging, anarchic first-generation blood soaked racket of Greek death metallers Abyssus is plonked firmly in circa 1989. This is an unabashed, unalloyed and bloodied panegyric to death metal’s glory (or, gory) heyday. Abyssus play as if it were simpler times and, though you have now heard music like this thousands of times, the band play like it is novel and they are youths with thrash metal band logos scrawled all over their college jotters. With clear stylistic waymarkers of formative Obituary, Asphyx, Possessed, and Death this manages to be both mindless nostalgia while also blowing much modern era competition out the water.
The low-end thrashy splatterfest of Metal of Death and The Ten Commandments pummel away making the lightbulbs flicker with rattling high-speed intensity and inchoate thrash snot as does the banging head thrasher Uncertain Future. Almost mandatorily, there is more than an element of the ridiculous with the theatrically over-cooked vomited vocals reminiscent of John Tardy or Jeff Beccera and the likes of the not so serious The Beast Within but it is doubtful whether anyone cares. The gutsy fury of Genocide, The Witch and When the Wolves are out to Hunt showcase gleeful, carefree musicianship played with high-octane verve, passion and energy. A surfeit of hyper-active good quality, broiling fretwork and incendiary solos are packed into just half an hour. It comes and goes quickly and leaves a triumphant, unrepentant mess.
And despite all those global triumphs and catastrophes over the last 30 years, there is another curious cultural constant. Three decades during which extremity has become depicted more vividly than ever in mainstream culture have seen little change to reactions towards music of this sort. Parents, normal civilians, teachers, conventional musicians, your non-metal mates still hear the likes of Abyssus and show a combination of horror, annoyance, hilarity, but most gloriously of all, sheer head-shaking incomprehension. It happened in 1990 as it does in 2022. Revival? It never died.
Death Revival was released in January 2022 via Transcending Obscurity Records