The Abyss stares Back is a series of releases by Hypertension Records. Over the course of several years there have already been 4 installments, this fifth one is the final chapter of the series. The core idea of this series was a collaboration between various artists from the Hypertension stable. With a certain kind of chauvinistic pride I can say that every single one of the releases featured some of the finest contemporary Belgian artists including several members of the famous Church of Ra. Previous releases were collaborations between Alkerdeel and Nihil, Hessian and Primitive Man, Drums are for Parades and Sardonis and Amenra and Vvounds.
This fifth piece is a unique collaboration between Mathieu Vandekerckhove (Syndrome/Amenra), Collin H. Van Eeckhout (Amenra, CHVE) and Scott Kelly (Neurosis) that has been given the name Absent in Body. These names alone demonstrate that AiB is a project that combines the protagonists in the Post-Hardcore, Sludge and Doom Metal scene. Needless to say that fans everywhere around the world have high expectations of this project. These fans better be ready to order their copy since it is strictly limited to 500 vinyl copies which could be pre-ordered from december 26th so it could be that it is already sold out by now.
Absent in Body is also the name of the single track that will be included on the LP. It is just under 20 minutes long without any interruptions. Even though this is all one single song, it has been recorded on various moment between 2015 and 2016 on both sides of the Atlantic ocean. Absent in Body is both familiar yet distinct from all the work that the bands of which the musicians are members have released up to this point. As they state themselves, it is actually a collection of dreams and thoughts of each participating individual that form the entirety of this release. It does not lead the listener anywhere in particular, everyone can decide if the thoughts are good or bad, if the subject is present or absent. The whole corpus of the song is made up of an eerie repition of soundscapes and ambience that lingers forwards like a carpet of fog that engulfs the surroundings. sporadical percussions give Absent of Body some more pace. The monotonous droning atmosphere is frequently interrupted by haunting vocals that seem to come from shapeless bodies whore completely embedded in the thick fog that is layered by the trio.
It is almost impossible to give an accurate description of the song as we do with conventional releases. This isn’t so much a music track you listen to but a complete experience which you have to be willing to undergo. The best way to feel this release is to listen to it with all of the lights out so you are not interrupted by any other form of stimuli that might distract you from the audible journey that is presented to you. You have to let yourself completely go and let yourself be overwhelmed with the tapistry of dreamresonances to fully appreciate this unique piece of art. Giving a score to Absent in Body is useless, because of it’s nature everyone has a different experience. One can be overwhelmed with ecstasy after listening to it, the other might be terrified of it to the extend that he or she will never play it again. Everyone has to decide for himself what they feel when listening.
Release date: January 20th, 2017
Label: Hypertension records
Absent in Body (19:26)