There are records that were made to be treated as an experience. These records were made for lighting some votives, shutting off the lights and sinking back into the couch as you allow the music to envelop you as it takes you on lofty journeys to far out realms, distant dreamscapes, worlds of wonder, and all that hippie bullshit.
“Monolith Of Vengeance” bursts out in a flurry of rabid blasting fury after what is an almost mandatory intro track. The vocals roar, rasp, and reverberate over the unrelenting chaos of detuned guitar. So, basically, war metal. And unless you’re an aficionado of the style, I can hear your eyes rolling as I write this. “Oh, great,” you’re probably thinking, “another Blasphemy ripoff. Who cares?”
Well, before you cast the bullet belt and wraparound shades into the back of the closet for good, hear me out on this one. There are few bands who adapt the style well, and Abysmal Lord have proven that they do. In fact, if Disciples Of The Inferno proved their merit as a band who could harness the brutality, then Exaltation Of The Infernal Cabal demonstrates the band’s ability to control the fury with an iron fist. While many bands are content to fill the areas between breakout riffs with noise, Abysmal Lord keep the riffs flowing nonstop, making their brand of black/death engaging throughout the album. The breaks in rhythm on tracks like “Scythe Of Damnation” and “Preparing The Throne” are exercised with animalistic rage as if barely contained by rational structure. Still, though, there is an underlying tightness to it that grips the blitzkreig’d songs by the throat with masterfully sadistic control.
Perhaps the strongest highlight of the album is to be found in the title track. While “Exhaltation Of The Infernal Cabal” opens much like the rest of the music on the record with fast, pummeling aggression, it drops into a particularly delectable doom riff that spreads the tension out just right like the blaze of culinary hellfire under the flat top grills at Beezelbubba’s Burgers & BBQ. While bands like Archgoat have defined their entire sound doing this, for a band like Abysmal Lord it feels like an unexpected treat that breaks up the center of the album nicely before taking another dose of adrenaline straight to the veins. By the time “Nuclear Absolution” rolls around, the focus has returned fully on bludgeoning the listener beyond recognition with hammering drums and bone crushing bass as the screeching of the chainsaw guitar leads tear through every ligament and tendon holding the poor soul together.
The production has amped up from the debut considerably.The thinner tones of Disciples certainly served their purpose, but the beefier tones and heavier bass presence on Exhaltation make it feel like sweltering humidity, a claustrophobic heat bearing down from the caverns of hell. The instruments still sound grainy, yet full and decipherable from one another. Without sacrificing an ounce of raw aggression, Abysmal Lord deliver a war metal release that is oddly accessible for its style on Exaltation Of The Infernal Cabal, and the result is a beast of a record made to GET BIG SHIT DONE. So throw it on before you hop on a Brutal Doom spree or hit the gym to get ripped in the name of Lucifer or demand an extension on your quarterly report deadline at the office and succumb to the primal black metal onslaught of Abysmal Lord as it forces its raw, pulsating energy deep into the guts of worthy listeners.