Some eight years after releasing its debut EP, Rituals of the Grotesque, Burial Invocation has finally released its first full-length album, Abiogenesis. Whatever the reasons for the delay, as things have been rather unsettled in the band’s Turkish homeland, I’m inclined to let it slide. Rituals of the Grotesque was a solid piece of dark, heavy death metal that very much followed the Incantation-worship trend that was hot at the time.
Abiogenesis also features heaps of dark, heavy death metal, but it has so much more to offer. Abiogenesis is much greater in scope and much more refined in execution. It’s head and shoulders above both its predecessor and a fair bit of the competition as well.
With Abiogenesis, Burial Invocation takes a similar tack to Dark Descent labelmates Blood Incantation, filling the album with only five tracks. However, with an average song-length over eight minutes, Abiogenesis is certainly not an EP. I hesitate to use words like “atmospheric” and “progressive” to describe the album, lest I give you dear readers the impression that Burial Invocation gets up to some kooky bullshit, but insomuch as those words convey that Abiogenesis is more than just a regular-assed death metal album, they are appropriate. Make no mistake, however: Abiogenesis is a death metal album, though and through.
Label: Dark Descent
The songs on Abiogenesis may have some kind of formulaic structure, certainly some riffs and licks are repeated, but there is so much going on, and the tracks are so long, that it’s difficult at times to grasp the whole, but it doesn’t really matter. The tracks move effortlessly from melodic to heavy and from fast to slow, and sometimes the band is seemingly doing everything at once. While that may sound disjointed, it never feels that way. Some of the transitions can be surprising, but despite their sprawl the songs never feel aimless or incomplete. Nor does the tone, despite the numerous melodic excursions, ever lighten too much. Things can sound a bit airy or spacey, but the music is always heading into darkness.
While drummer Abberant and bassist Ozan Yıldırım do remarkable jobs in anchoring Abiogenesis in some concrete rhythms, and now-departed vocalist Mustafa Yıldız keeps things similarly grounded with a pure, deep death-growl, the album belongs to guitarists Cihan Akün and Can Yakay Darbaz. Akün and Darbaz run wild on Abiogenesis, with brilliant playing at every turn. Every track seemingly has a million riffs and half a million melodies, and superb leads are sprinkled liberally throughout.
In a way the cover art on Burial Invocation’s two releases tells the band’s story: The black and white, hand-drawn art on Rituals of the Grotesque is good fun, but amateurish. On the other hand, the rich, full-color Dan Seagrave art that adorns Abiogenesis is positively masterful. In turn, Abiogenesis is a masterful work of death metal, and quite impressively, one that stays primarily within the genre’s stylistic parameters. There’s still a good chunk of 2018 left, but I would confidently put Abiogenesis on the short list for death metal album of the year.