The year 2021 has been busy for the Asian label Transcending Obscurity Records. Following numerous releases, the record label now presents the sophomore “Rot of Ages” from the rising Swedish death metal act Abscession. Six years have passed since the band released its debut album “Grave Offerings”. The trio, which consists of Thomas Clifford (vocals), Macke (drums), and Markus (guitars, and bass), are seemingly on top of their game. Abscession has built a solid reputation for themselves and with the newest effort, they bring some new ideas to their sonic framework. The professional skills of the members enabled them to push the boundaries hence providing a savage take on the Swedish traditional death metal style.
“Rot of Ages” is massively brutal. The frantic pace of the opening track “Rat King Crawl” brings the sculpting riffs of the trademark HM-2 boss distortion, which is empowered by extreme buzzing guitars. Although the music isn’t quite different from the classic sound of Stockholm death metal bands like Feral, Entrails, and LIK. The songs are powerfully galvanizing with booming growls and pounding drums bringing in plenty of intensity from the guitar department. In terms of the stylistic range, the trio conveys a modern trademark quality, the album feels well balanced by the level of vigorousness.
Once the second track “Theatre of Pain” kicks in, the guitars drip some catchy melodies with the drums bouncing off the wall. The vocals providing a solid backing to the drums and the recurring melodies become the central piece here. All the instruments, including the bass guitar, involve in creating a powerful reverberation, as one would expect from such a robust combination while some of the tracks have their own entire sound. It feels like Abscession is taking you into sensational forms of Stockholm death metal, the sprawling influence of bands like Dismember and Entombed is demonstrated rather in a modern way.
“Dead Man’s Hate” begins with the blazing HM-2 guitars, the song contains some effective grooves and destructive blast beats are unleashed, whereas the melodies add an extra texture to the song. “Rains of Death” contains some rapid blasting sections performed by the drums, allowing the guitars to add infectious hooks. Everything seems sharp and on point, from the battering drums to the meticulously layered melodies. Despite the average length of the songs ranging from three to four minutes, the guitar solos float above the monstrous growls in addition to the ramping riffs. The album title track “Rot of Ages” meanders through hellish growls steered by the powerful percussion. The heavy riffing section delivers sharp chainsaw tunes which stumble upon some unnecessary clean vocal passages.
Overall the songs are quite varied and this proves the innovative aspect of songwriting, regardless of the traditional style Abscession managed to exhibit new musical grounds. For this reason, the sophomore feels fresh and full of ideas. The guitars are key features and the driving force behind the music. In other songs, the band accentuates the tempo with aggressive riffs and while the vocals enhance the quality, the pace tends to be fully brutal and energetic.
There are some similarities to Entrails, especially when the band maintains the up-tempo, the insertion of the melodies allows for stylistic shifts. Tracks like “The Final Furnace” accentuate the brutality of the chainsaw riffage and the savage backing growls. The album is rendered by lightning fast solos and detailed melodies. Listen to “When the Guillotine Falls” and you will truly perceive the highly innovative work of the energizing guitars. The use of keyboards in the songs gives them a sort of ominous tone and they are cleverly applied. The band eschews any sort of monotonousness. Another highlight of the album is “War Machine”, which begins with the unhinged battering of the drums. The most notable part is when the guitars switch from aggression to giving way to the flowing guitar hooks to shimmer.
Being one of the fastest and chaotic tracks, Abscession offers unrelenting barbarity on “Prometheus Unbound”, engaging in vigorous and aggressive tempo of the chainsaw guitars, while the melodic undercurrent is reminiscent to Dismember. The final track “Eta Della Putrefazione” mixes the elements of eighties synth vibes and minimalist drum beats that create an ominous feeling. “Rot of Ages” is incredibly impressive and most likely to capture the attention of fans of Bloodbath, LIK, Entrails, and Feral. I haven’t come across any Swedish death metal albums as good as this one this year and for this, I give it a high recommendation!
Release Date: November 19th, 2021
Label: Transcending Obscurity Records
- Rat King Crawl
- Theatre of Pain
- Dead Man’s Hate
- Rains of Death
- Rot of Ages
- The Final Furnace
- When the Guillotine Falls
- War Machine
- Prometheus Unbound
- Eta Della Putrefazione