posted on 2/2011 By:
Reviewing Abacinate’s Genesis was a bit of a lark for me. The band’s brand of death metal with hints of hardcore -- maybe it’s deathcore, and maybe it isn’t; I can hardly tell the difference anymore -- is not precisely my style, but it is good to step out of one’s comfort zone once in a while, right? Wrong. Sadly, Abacinate’s vocalist Jason Sica passed away in September of last year, making Genesis literally his swansong. Faced with such a tragic turn of events, and already somewhat beyond the boundaries of my expertise, I was concerned that sentiment and nescience would prevent me from wielding my critical sword with full force and authority. Fortunately, Abacinate has made it easy on me: Though there are hardcore elements on Genesis, it is primarily a death metal album and can be judged as such, and, more importantly, Genesis is a diverse, well-performed album deserving more praise than censure.
Genesis is, of course, also the title of Job for a Cowboy’s debut album, and to further confuse matters Ruination, the title of Abacinate’s first album, is also the title of Job for a Cowboy’s second album. Quite what the fuck is going on here, I do not know, but it is certainly odd that two bands of a similar style, one of which is fairly high-profile, would choose the same titles for their albums. I suspect shenanigans are afoot. In any case, while both bands bring a little hardcore to their death metal, Abacinate takes a more adventurous, albeit less brutal, approach to its music which should place it well out of Job for a Cowboy’s shadow.
I cannot tell you that Abacinate brings anything new and exciting to the death metal table, but the band does draw influence from the full spectrum of death metal styles, from At the Gates to Suffocation, making Genesis a varied and engaging listen. Sica, for his part, matches the band's multiplicity with an equally diverse vocal performance that ranges from guttural growls and raspy shrieks to a gruff hardcore bark. Genesis certainly has its fair share of mosh-pit-ready low-end chugging, but the album is more than just an excuse for sweaty young men to run into each other: Abacinate seems intent on keeping its music, well… musical. Between the breakdowns, nearly every song on Genesis has a little nugget of instrumental goodness that displays Abacinate’s technical skill and/or ear for melody.
Genesis’s high point is the two-part instrumental “A Light in the Dark” which is, ironically, the least death metal-sounding track on the album. This multi-sectioned piece finds Abacinate throwing everything but the kitchen sink into the mix, from doom, thrash and melodic death metal riffs, to frenetic harmonies, blues-rock grooves, beautiful solos and even a little funk. The album’s low point would be “Necroplunger”, which features some tough-guy posturing, the likes of which I have not heard since Biohazard’s heyday. If this is meant to be tongue-in-cheek, it is not all that amusing. If, on the other hand, it is meant to be taken seriously, well, then I suppose it is fucking hilarious.
Genesis probably has just enough hardcore in it to put off death metal purists, but for those who favor modern sounding death metal or deathcore, Genesis has a lot to offer. For a musical legacy, Jason Sica could do much worse.
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