Release DetailsLABEL Codebreaker Records
RELEASED ON 3/28/2005
In Reality We Suffer
posted on 5/2005 By:
Anyone who has ever had a dog, and preferably a large dog, will know exactly what I mean. You know when your dog quickly snatches up something he’s not supposed to have—a dropped hamburger or a dead bird, and you’re pissed and/or concerned enough that you forcibly wrench open his clenched jaws and shake his head in order to free the offending object, dangerously denying the dog of his ill gotten prize? Well that kind of aggressiveness and yielding under protest is what I’m reminded of when I hear the music on Abandon’s In Reality We Suffer. It’s as if rather than simply playing the instrument, Ingvar Sandgren and David Fredrickson (bass) grab their instruments firmly by the neck and forcibly coerce dissonant melodies from their recalcitrant strings. In any case, one gets the clear impression that musical expression is a painful and exhausting process for band and instrument alike. In Reality We Suffer is an exercise in the exquisiteness and delayed gratification of creeping, harsh sludge in the vein of a more doomish Cult of Luna and Neurosis, although comparisons to Khanate, Today is the Day, and Eyehategod could also be made.
The untitled instrumental that opens the album immediately sets a tone of bleakness that persists throughout the album’s 76 minutes. Consisting of sparse rumbling, a repeating, slow, tribal drum pattern, and occasional quiet guitar phrases, the two and half minute song has an effect much the same as the way the amber bulb in a darkroom immediately and wholly casts a different visual perception of your surroundings. “Trauma is the Trigger” continues briefly in that same trudging pace, before awakening and careening back and forth between doomish swells and pummeling outbursts. “Somnabulistic” and “Piles of Pigs” employ a quicker pace and off kilter riffs and fret sliding, which along with Johan Karlsson’s raw barking shouts, provide a dark, frantic aggressiveness. In Reality We Suffer is a little like a photographic negative image of Isis’ Panopticon, in that both albums contain well constructed melodies as leverages to heavier moments, but while Isis have a lush sound and sometimes a calming effect, Abandon use a bare bones, discomforting, stark meditative method. If Isis conjures visions of the sea, Abandon calls to mind rocky, barren crag.
In Reality We Suffer is not always an easy listen, but what pushes the album from average to excellent is the band’s skill in developing the songs with just the right types and amounts of melody and tempo changes, which break up the trudging sections and provide texture to the raw, stark outlay. There is a growing number of bands playing this style these days, but despite their forgettable moniker, Gothenburg’s Abandon (along with label mates Figure of Merit) are more than capable of emerging from the pack. Finally, Abandon have produced some Gothenburg metal for the rest of us. Highly recommended.
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