Originally written by Justin Bean.
I’m perfectly willing to admit that there are legions of death metal bands that I’ve never heard of despite plying their trade for a decade or more. Abominant, for example, now has nine full-lengths to their name, all of which have been released on one of two labels, and none of which I’ve encountered until now. Death metal has always been an ‘underground’ phenomenon, and perhaps Abominant’s relative anonymity is a testament to just how underground—or middle-of-the-road—they really are, and I’m leaning toward the latter here.
On Where Demons Dwell we get a fairly well-executed if not run-of-the-mill death metal release that combines, with varying degrees of success, several trends in death metal writ large. We have the speedy tremolo picking made famous by the likes of Incantation, a bit of the plodding military stomp that I identify with Bolt Thrower, and then a slew of blackened riffs that bring to mind a simplified and less intensely realized Infernal War or elements of 1349. I could continue to describe and make comparisons, but if you’ve done just a modicum of death metal homework, you’ll understand that Where Demons Dwell is another one of those releases that will appeal to a few die-hard fans but certainly won’t offer anything new or particularly exciting even.
Speaking metaphorically, the best comparison I can make with Where Demons Dwell is to my early experiences with death metal. The local CD store was closing right as I was getting into metal, and they pulled out box upon box of metal backstock and put it on clearance. I bought anything that seemed like it might be worthwhile and found that most of it had been in backstock for a reason. (A lot of it was from Crash Music, if that gives you some idea.) What I’m getting at is that Abominant is of a feather with those bands I was discovering and then forgetting about—bands that sound good for a minute but then fail to distinguish themselves from the underground masses. They’ve got some talent, but they don’t seem to have much vision.
And perhaps that’s what Abominant wants, though I believe you can stay ‘true,’ so to speak, while still making your artistic mark. But if Abominant wants nothing more than to respect the death metal traditions established over the years, their goal perhaps being to keep the underground sound alive, then Abominant is doing just that. However, if you the listener are searching for something slightly new or adventurous, I recommend you look elsewhere. As a fellow reviewer recently said of another album, “good just isn’t good enough anymore.”