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ABHOR/ABYSMAL GRIEF - Split EP

Release date August 2/19 (Iron Bonehead)

Straight out of the underground we have this split EP, with Italian black metal unit Abhor leading off with two tracks (totaling 13 minutes). Veterans of the black arts since 1998, with multiple full lengths and demos/splits to their name, the band aren't one of those one-dimensional blasting types.

Inserting intermittent creepy keyboards and continuously switching riffs/tempos, their tracks require some attention to be able to extract all the nooks and crannies on offer. Especially love the opening track 'Legionne Occulta' where they include demented rantings from a seemingly possessed soul, lending it a horror movie vibe. Cool stuff. [7.5]

Joining them for this outing is fellow Italian unit Abysmal Grief, themselves also veterans of the underground (in this case doom) since 1998. Providing one elongated instrumental track (clocking in at 13 minutes), the opening three minutes are taken up by some sci fi/horror keyboard work, before transitioning into some foreboding (faux?) violin and background oratorical snippets, evoking visions of a church of the damned. It isn't until the 8-minute mark that the main guitar riff kicks in, a mid-tempo trad-metal beast, with ghoulish keyboard accentuation. Some way-cool lead guitar work then brings the lengthy track to a satisfying close. Not as doomy as first expected, but still a fine piece of work. [7]

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