Artist: Blood Abscission
Album Title: I
Date of Release: 4 August 2023
Today is one of those glorious days, when you take a punt based on nothing more than a whim, and it pays off handsomely. I’m talking about the album, ‘I’ by a band that goes by the name of Blood Abscission. I say ‘band’, but for all I know, it could be a solo artist. It could be a small clan of rabid Meerkats, come to that, although I doubt it. There is literally nothing on the Web about this entity; no social media, their Bandcamp page has nothing to report, and as far as I can tell, this album only exists in a digital format.
The only things I can tell you for certain are these: Firstly, the word ‘abscission’ means ‘the natural detachment of parts of a plant, typically dead leaves and ripe fruit’, so the name is interesting to say the least. Secondly, ‘I’ is arguably more of an EP than an album as it is comprised of just five tracks with a run-time of under half an hour. Thirdly, the music within these five tracks falls within the genre of atmospheric black metal. And fourthly, I’m head over heels in love with it.
It’s like going on a blind date in the dark; I know nothing except the sounds that emanate from my speakers, but by God, the sounds are stunning. So stunning, that nothing else matters right now. I took a chance on what I understand to be a debut release, and it has been one of the best decisions I’ve made for a while.
The whole thing kicks off with the title track, ‘I’ and as such, it’s fair to say that the entity behind Blood Abscission have wasted no time in coming up with elaborate song titles. They/he/she/it have, instead, poured all efforts into the music. It shows too. The first minute is all blood and thunder black metal aggression, opened up by some brief, wailing feedback, blastbeats, and cold riffs. The production is, as is the norm for this kind of music, deliberately raw and not the sharpest. Instead, the instruments blur into each other, whilst still managing to sound sufficiently distinct if that makes even a modicum of sense? Essentially, whilst muddy and lacking pin-sharp clarity, it gives the feeling of being murky, atmospheric, and dense.
The vocals, when they emerge, sound tortured and full of venom, albeit buried somewhat deep into the overall tumult. The pace is swift and relentless but as it develops, there’s a suggestion via lead guitar lines and synths, that there could be more to come. And when it does, it’s glorious. The drums go up a notch in terms of pace, but so does everything, as a killer melody emerges between the keys and the guitars, pummelling the senses in a gloriously epic attack. I know that the word ‘epic’ gets used a lot, but I stand by it here, because that is exactly how this composition feels to me. It’s the perfect blend of savage aggression and stunning melody, wrapped up in a fabulous eight-minute package that’s topped off by some brilliant dynamics created by a temporary slowing of proceedings to give emphasis to the guitar notes and the melody.
Track ‘II’ picks up where ‘I’ left off, albeit with a more melodic bent straight away, giving it a more immediate feel. The heaviness and savagery remain of course, but for my money, this is the calmest of the five, aside from the shorter cinematic interlude piece, ‘IV’. We’re treated to some clean vocals at the heart of the track, that add to the atmosphere and to the sense of melancholy that is undeniably caged within this music. And there’s even space at the death for a lead guitar solo, something that I really enjoy, and something that adds to the already super track.
There are no real surprises within the remainder of the material, with melodically charged atmospheric black metal at the very heart of what Blood Abscission is all about. Each track carries within it something marvellous and magical that begs instant replays, be it for the chosen melodies, the dark atmospheres, or the overall ferocity.
That said, closer ‘V’ is arguably the most brutal and challenging of all the compositions on ‘I’. The melodies are never far away, but they are used a touch more sparingly, in favour of an aggressive attack that’s unsettling, almost dystopian in its delivery thanks to some jarring instrumental work, and big atmospheres that are occasionally suffocatingly intense.
Way before I want it to, ‘I’ come to an end. As such, I do what any sane, rational person would do and I press ‘play’ again and dive headlong back into the music. And each time I do, there’s a moment, a note, a sequence, or a vocal that sends shivers down my spine, confirming that this is an exceptionally special release indeed. If it’s atmospheric black metal that you’re looking for, then stop your hunt and check out Blood Abscission immediately. I only wish there was a physical version to buy, as it’d look damn fine in my CD collection. I can only hope…
The Score of Much Metal: 95%