Abominor – Opus Decay

Abominor are a black metal band from Reykjavík, Iceland. Formed back in 2008, this is their first release since their 2010 demo, and it left quite an impression on me. Iceland is having something of a black metal renaissance at the moment, with groups like Svartidauði, Sinmara (formerly Chao), and Misþyrming making huge waves across the metal scene over the last few years. Abominor do not entirely break with the suffocating, occult sound developed within the Icelandic scene, but they do enough to stand out that this EP is well worth a listen, particularly if you’re a fan of any of the aforementioned bands.

Comprised of only two tracks but totaling almost 22 minutes in length, this is a hefty debut offering, especially so as it is available to download for free. Tasteful atmospheric touches set the tone for this EP before a raw and noisy (but eerily melodic) tremolo-picked guitar riff backed up by reserved and tasteful drumming begin their haunting incantations. Abominor’s tasteful use of dark, strangely beautiful melodies is what really sets them apart from most black metal bands for me. It’s as if they find an idea or sound that at first appears truly beautiful, but then they find a way to corrupt it and turn it into something that just gets under your skin; and they take their time to work their way towards it, and once they find it they don’t just let it go but instead repeat it, much like a chant, and draw you in in an almost hypnotic way.

And every so often they throw a curveball, 9 minutes into the opening track ‘474’ careering off into a chaotic, Deathspell Omega-inspired frenzy, all blastbeats and off-kilter guitar riffs, before again contrasting that with their melodic sensibilities, switching back and forth in an unpredictable attack. In contrast, the second track wastes no time in returning to this ferocious attack, exploding out of the gates, reminding me of the sound Sinmara developed on their album ‘Aphotic Womb’ but with even more of that chaotic yet melodic sound DsO have developed.

This contrast between beauty and ugliness, and the way in which one can so easily become the other, is at the heart of Opus: Decay, such that when the hoarse, cracking vocals make themselves heard, for some reason they’re not the most intimidating part of what’s going on here.  Abominor have a real talent for finding beautiful sounds and morphing them into something truly terrifying, turning them into menacing dirges and never letting you go.