Release DetailsLABEL Displeased Records
RELEASED ON 5/28/2006
The Eternal Conflagration
posted on 5/2006 By:
There haven’t been many higher-profile black/war metal bands giving up the goods since Angelcorpse disbanded, but veteran Australian chaos mongers Abominator are getting ready to reacquaint themselves with those of us who can still appreciate the less refined, blatantly blasphemous ends of the metal spectrum with their newest halo killer, The Eternal Conflagration. A few of us still exist, I think, and if not there’s always a new wave of unsuspecting Shadows Fall kids out there to attempt to corrupt. It surprises me that such a dated form of metal can still sound vibrant in the right hands, and this infernal trio has no problem sounding both spirited, and totally relentless, if not unfocused.
Given a choice, I’d rather just sit here and thrash to this fucker instead of judging it, but I can’t do that since it is you who has to shell out for it. Calling a spade a spade, I actually expected something more from Abominator from a critical standpoint. It’s doubtful that anyone listens to these guys expecting progression from one release to the next, because there certainly is no expansion of creativity or artistic direction. Nope folks, what we have here is simply venomous, tightly swirling blastbeaten barbarity performed with rather average dexterity and drive, which isn’t meant to be an insult. The performances are all passionately rendered and lacking any sort of cheese or phoned-in, computerized assistance, but it’s also the safest Abominator album yet in comparison to their peers.
The songwriting itself is dynamically arranged and energetic enough, and although fast and furious, doesn’t quite have the overall deep bite of Nuctemeron Descent, or Subversives For Lucifer. There’s something about the contorted tremolo whirlwind that feels, strangely enough, slightly rushed, not so much in execution but in assembly. The riffs aren’t filler, mind you, because the rhythmic patterns are very diligent and well-constructed, but there is a glaring lack of adhesion within the individual songs themselves. The notes race by without much repetition to drill such malicious ideas home, and lock into your brain. Unlike Immolation, Incantation, or Angelcorpse who have songs centered around strong riff arrangements from the start and build from there, most of the material on The Eternal Conflagration feels stitched together with a point of view in mind, but no concrete path to get where they want to go. With the exception of the recurring gallop of “Desecrator Of Sanctuary”, I can’t recall a single one of the many standout riffs anywhere on this album that sticks for any length of time.
Soundwise, I don’t know what went wrong. The vocals are placed somewhat in the middle, the guitars are all-encompassing, and the bass is buried in the muddy mess of drums. This sub-par overall sound really hurts since the song ideas aren’t formulated very well to begin with. The solos suffer in particular from the odd mix, their wild structures are somewhat robbed of their potential luster due to the discrepant production, administering another chip to the armor of this otherwise mighty band.
So when I say The Eternal Conflagration is average as in "pretty good", I want you to know I love this kind of shit, and I love the style of this album so I can be a little forgiving, personally, while spinning it in my boom box or whatever. Still, the production is quite underwhelming, and with greater attention to detail and strong separate song ideas, this could have been an extraordinary album thanks to the truly vicious riffs it contains, but falls slightly short overall. Abominator are a very talented band, and I can’t really pick anything out musically that sucks or sounds third rate. But at the same time, if you’re not the kind of person who already has a soft spot or preference for brazenly blasphemous war metal, there’s nothing here that will convert you. If you're a fan already, you'll love it, really. But I’m not here to play favorites, so there you have it.
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