Abhor / Abysmal Grief – Legione Occulta / Ministerium Diaboli

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From the crypts of the Mediterrean underground comes this ominous split of two unique cvlt bands. Both are long running veterans in the scene. Abhor is one of the oldest Italian black metal bands, apart from Mortuary Drape maybe, while Abysmal Grief holds true to the banner of traditional doom.
What links both bands, however, is their shared love for Hammer horror style theatrics. That is immediately apparent in their visual aesthetics as well as in the way they incorporate, for instance, church organ into their sound.

For the true Norwegian black metal purists that might sound a bit too naff, but the creepy cheesiness of it all fits both bands very well, actually.

Side A sees Abhor presenting two songs. The first one enters very doomily with huge layers of synth on top. What happens then I can only describe someone storming into the recording room with an axe and chopping everyone in sight to bits and pieces. Screams and chaos left and right, while the band just continues playing.

The second song is closer to what you would classify as classic mid tempo black metal with a nasty Immortal style rasp.

Abysmal Grief brings one long doom epic to the B side. This is really a weird one. It starts out as a regular, run off the mill brooding intro with whispered declamations, monks praying and eerie keyboards, but it just doesn’t end. As if the song is cursed to remain in intro limbo for all time. You anxiously await some bonafide doom riffing jst round the corner , but it keeps meandering in this gothic, ambient soundscape. Not until the needle has spun three quarters across the vinyl does the song actually pick up. Then all of a sudden, this massive Celtic Frost riff bulldozers in. Side by side with the ever present keys , it carries the song to its final resting place.

I can see why Abysmal Grief would want to keep this kind of experiment on a separate release as it wouldn’t really fit in with the rest of a studio album. It’s a bit like Reverend Bizarre did on the ‘Slave of Satan’ EP.

Release date: August 2 2019
Label: Iron Bonehead Productions

  1. Abhor – Legione Occulta
  2. Abhor – Possession Obsession
  3. Abysmal Grief-Ministerium Diaboli


  • Music8/10
  • Vocals/Lyrics8/10
  • Production/ Mix7/10
  • Artwork/Packaging8/10
  • Originality9/10
8 All in all this one is a curious collector’s item that is worthwhile for fans of either artist or for people who don’t mind a bit of ham and cheese with their black ‘n doom.
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