Abysmal Darkening / Pyramido / Highgate

Abyssmal Darkening – No Light Behind

This debut full-length effort in old school subterranean doom, sprinkled with some modern touches and featuring members of Planet Aids, Bunkur and Funeral Goat, is a mammoth trip through everything I enjoy about the genre. There are intermittent nods of the head to the drawn out stoner-doom riff template, sickened vocals that would leave even Bethlehem trembling and occasional forays into a less murky dISEMBOWLMENT-type sound.

This is a forty-minute lesson in how doom can sound despondent and hypnotizing without breaking off into boring repetition. Abysmal Darkening where their influences on their battle vests. ‘A New Dawn’ is an undeniable homage to Attila’s patented vocal delivery. Hollow, hopeless chord arrangements develop into soaring, funeral doom leads that can be found in abundance on the latest Loss effort.

The most welcome addition to their sound however, is not the myriad of influence they weave into their craft, but the fluctuations in tempo. ‘Dead Eyes’ somehow bridges the gulf between Moss styled crawling cacophony and tremolo picked black metal hysteria. There are abysses of difference at the slower end of the spectrum too, which help the band avoid the pitfall of becoming ‘that fucking doom band playing at two beats per minute for four hours straight’.

Recommended for fans of Bethlehem, Bunker and dare I say Celtic Frost? Yeah. Definitely.

Pyramido – Salt

Heavy. Primitive. Raw. Angry. Sludge. Yes. If you enjoy the warlord like rumblings of Thou or Sabre, this is for you. The riffs sound truly possessed. The band moves together as a lesson in global warfare and the result is ‘Salt’, their second full length in two years. This is the kind of sludge that has been done to death. I’m surprised people can even make out the blueprint anymore, it must be so fucking faded. I have little to no patience for doom/sludge at the best of times, but Pyramido somehow transcend.

Their take on the template is aggressive. I get the same feeling from ‘Salt’ that I do from powerviolence and more tempered hardcore. That moment when the volume goes up and your primal urge to fuck shit up becomes oh so apparent. The riffs are the momentum. The drums the chassis and the vocals are an unnecessary but welcome knife in the face.

The album is like one huge, channeled groove of crushing cosmic might. Sometimes feedback fogs up the view and the band break into a haze of ambient and release, but the sludge is where the heart is with this outfit. Recommended for anyone who enjoys sludge, primal urges, beer and destroying worlds.

Highgate – Black Frost Fallout

Combining some early demo tracks and a live ritual, Black Frost Fallout is my first introduction with this Kentucky based doom outfit. Like the more treble-oriented musings of Nortt, Highgate’s sound does not directly cater for the lower end like the majority of doom outfits. If fits the music too. Highgate drift between a minimalist styling of sludge, great swarthes of noise and sections of unrelenting black metal. The vocals are annoying, sounding more like the poorly recorded moans of Malefic’s early day. Sometimes the music has this tendency to veer into a kind of southern-metal sounding abomination I’d rather turn off than allow to carry on. At other times, guitars come together to create something worth hearing, like on ‘Burial Light’ with its hypnotizing tempos and leads. A valiant effort by a band punching way above its weight.

All three releases are available now through Total Rust Music. Head there for samples, information and ordering options.

You'll find me in the vast wilderness of British Columbia, talking metal at LURKER, or working in publishing and front-end web/eBook development.


  • Reply October 13, 2011


    Thanx for the review of Abysmal Darkening! One small comment though…we do not have any members of Urfaust in our midst.

    Kev. of A.D.

  • Reply October 13, 2011


    Apologies for the error. It has been corrected!

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