Ab Imo Pectore
The Dissociative Path
posted on 3/2012 By:
One aspect of listening to a demo recording is the demoishness of it. The rough production, one-track takes, and youthful enthusiasm can all help to add appeal independent from the more refined official releases. However, because so many (thousands of) black metal albums tend to have similar production standards, actual black metal demos tend to lose the charm of those in, say, the thrash and death styles.
Point is, instead of conveying potential, The Dissociative Path just makes Portugal’s Ab Imo Pectore come across as a largely pedestrian black metal act. Their approach is that of the black-metal-band-that-actually-sounds-like-a-real-band, meaning the drums sound like actual drums and there is little-to-no processing on the instruments, just cold-center rawness. Only the vocals are given a very hefty dose of echo or burial, depending on the situation. Songs shift from a “Leviathan light” vibe (opener “Shearers of God”) to more of a Valborg-as-black-metal feel (6/8 parts in multiple songs), crafting a sound that is actually quite endearing to these ears, but there is a shortage of engaging riffage and the songs aren’t constructed in a manner that maintains much grip. Furthermore, because it really misses out on that “demo character,” one is left with nothing but this lack of teeth.
Tossing those above arguments at a random black metal demo may not seem fair, but Ab Imo Pectore had no intention of The Dissociative Path being taken as a mere demo anyway. They even went so far as to give the release an intro (part of the first track), ambient guitar interlude, and outro, all adding up to over one third of the total 28-minute runtime. This not only reveals that the band meant for this to be taken as a more complete, mature offering, but because all of this extra material is fairly useless, it also serves to waste the listener’s time and dilute the proper songs.
As stated above, parts of The Dissociative Path are decent enough to provide mild enjoyment for fans of the style, but Ab Imo Pectore clearly has a lot to learn about song and album construction, demo or not.
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