Each of the band’s seven studio albums conveyed methodical flair of molding a symphonic style of black metal. Abhor’s musical influences are inspired by bands like Mortuary Drape, Mystifier, and old Samael. In fact, while the band never reached international status like their countrymen Opera IX, Maldoror, Bulldozer, and Death SS, the duo Domine Saevum Graven andUlfhedhnir continued to perfect their craft. It was until 2018 that the pair reached the pinnacle of their musical career with the seventh album “Occulta Religio”. Besides the original members, the current lineup includes bassist/guitarist Kvasir, Emanuele Collato (Bulldozer, Death SS) on drums, and Juuso Peltola AKA Lord Vrăjitor (Old Sorcery, Warmoon Lord) on keyboards/church organ.
The album begins with a chilling dark theme where “The Curse of the Twins” sending shivers down your spine, and the remarkable synth arrangements immediately transform you into an otherworldly realm of occultism. The guitars on the album are absolutely heavy, Abhor shows a tight grip on utilizing primitive black riffs while the drums sound heavy in the mix. The keyboards serve as a fundamental feel to the music, demonstrating full symphonic scale to the ten tracks of the album. Although Abhor’s symphonic presentation isn’t similar to the usual approach of the Scandinavian black metal bands, relatively the composition is cloaked in nightmarish themes which makes the songs sound raw and evil. “At The Edge of Circle” and “Ode to the Snake” shows a spooky and gothic/black metal take. The vocals and the female spoken words add another layer to the music thus it feels like the music has a supernatural theme.
In spite of the fact that the riffs on the album are raw, they create a background to ominous keyboards and creepy vocal passages, but overall the music is well-crafted. The fast drumming impulses on “Ritual Satanism” is notable but the whole sound reminds me of the primordial style of black metal. The album has a sense of originality and rawness which somehow gives you the classic influence of the early wave of Italian and Latin American sound of black metal. “Sex Sex Sex (Ceremonia Daemonis Anticristi)” centers on themes of satanic rites, in fact, the entire album sounds like an unholy black mass ceremony. The soaring organ pipe and the grim vocals are perfectly layered while the symphonic overtures set off a lecherous orgy of sexual rituals. “Evil Mentor” veils the listener in such a ritualistic mood.
Abhor achieves a surrealistic atmosphere and sheds light upon the aesthetics of combining soundscapes of church organs to give a full range of its symphonic scores. The main thematic inspirations may have been taken from classic Italian horror filmmakers such as Lucio Fulci. The highlight of the album is the cover song “Beelzebuth” from the Brazilian black metal cult Mystifier. The guitars, vocals, and foggy keyboards unleash a hellish cacophony of the cold mid-tempo style of black metal and the atmosphere is just profanely evil. While the opening of “October 31st, 2010” begins with buzzing chords of the bass guitar, the synth on the other hand invites some horrific and spellbinding soundscapes. The guitars are wrapped in blackened riffs and create a thematic atmosphere with the keyboards setting the increasing scale of the symphonic swells.
“The Call (Forti animo sum)” is where the drums morph into some fast-paced tempos the riffs focus on the catchiness of the tremolo-picked riffs with melodies given full range to shine. It is also one of the fewer songs that include fast drumming parts, the songwriting is given more depth to the guitars. The closing track “Violet Coven” offers a spooky theme to Abhor’s hallmark style of raw-symphonic black metal, it is entirely played by the splendid creepy organ instrument.
- Music / Songwriting 9/10
- Vocals / Lyrics 8/10
- Mix / Production 8/10
- Artwork & Packaging 9/10
- Originality 9/10
The eighth album from the Italian satanic coven brings dark morbid tunes of unholy mass with a great mixture of first-wave black metal that is similar to bands like Mortuary Drape, Mystifier, Death SS, and Samael. This album is one of the best black metal I’ve heard this year, if you are into the occult style of black then you must check this out!