Sometimes, when you grab a CD at a record store, everything comes clear at the first sight. 'Wound Empire' by Abstracter is one of those albums. On the front you can find a gloomy grey picture of what seems to be an old village with a mathematical pattern of lines drawn over it. Turn the CD (or LP, or cassette because this album is released in a number of formats through a number of labels) around and you see four tracks, each lasting for nearly or over ten minutes. Everything about this album says 'Doooooom'. As a review-magazine we already knew this of course, but pretty much every fan of Neurosis, Yob, Amen Ra or Indian can buy this one and be sure it's a high quality addition to their collection, even without listening to it first.
Abstracter hails from the Bay Area, San Fransisco. Over the past thirty years, this region has gained a solid reputation for its wide array of metal bands like Testament, Death Angel or Autopsy amongst many others. Now, after being an important region for thrash and death metal, the Bay Area can add doom to the list. What Abstracter shows, might not be the most original doom/sludge sound but it's definately one of the most interesting I've heard in a while. Many of our readers will already know that Merchants of Air has a little problem with sludge metal, mainly because of the vocals. On 'Wound Empire' however the vocals do not seem to function as a megaphone for the singer's ego but as an extra instrument, adding a sense of desperation and fear to the sound.
The overall sound is basically the same as most post-metal, doom and sludge bands but I feel the Abstracter has put a lot more focus on atmosphere than several of their colleagues, sometimes by incorporating influences from post-rock and stoner rock. Maybe that's because of the people
whocooperated on this album. It was mixed by Greg Wilkinson (also known for his work with Pallbearer, Sleep, Om and countless of others) and produced by Brad Boatright (Sunn O))), Wolves In The Throne Room and so on). Yet, maybe Abstracter is just another extremely talented metal band from the Bay Area (really, scientists should do some DNA testing over there because metal is clearly in the blood of these musicians).
To conclude I can only recommend this album to every fan of slow extreme music. Even before unwrapping the album you can be sure of its quality and you probably won't be disappointed about it. 'Wound Empire', Abstracter's second album by the way, might well be on its way to become a classic in its genre, maybe also because of the blackened elements that somewhat remind me of Alter Of Plagues. Whatever format you're into, you can definately find something in the list of formats and labels below.
Doom on my friends...
12” VINYL LP:
Vendetta Records (EU/DE)
7Degrees Records (EU/DE)
Shove Records (EU/IT)
COF Records (Church Of Fuck) (UK)
An Out Recordings (US)