Abstracter - Wound Empire - (8.5/10)
Published on February 3, 2015
Abstracter formed in 2010 as a duo with no intent of performing live or recording any material. Eventually fleshing into a full, four piece band, Abstracter released their debut full length album Tomb of Feathers in 2012 through The Path Less Traveled Records. While their debut was a blackened, doomy, sludge-laden, crust amalgamation featuring three lengthy hymns of desolation, their follow up, Wound Empire, which will see a release in early 2015, takes that foundation and twists it. Oh, these tracks are still a blackened, doomy, sludge-laden crust amalgamation, but the band brought more substance resulting in an immersive listen; one that is both more poignant and more haunting.
Wound Empire features four tracks of gloomy, disparaging music, reaching well over the forty minute mark. With such long tracks at hand, the band allows themselves ample room to manipulate a writhing sound. “Lightless”, the album’s opener begins with melancholic notes, feedback and roiling, tom-heavy percussion before charging in with a simmering, slow building sludge riff and dissonant, screamed vocals. The track twists and turns, breathing a life of its own, as the band balances crusty power chords, rampant trem riffing and a sweltering, hard-as-iron groove with the sludge-laden base. “Cruciform” travels similar ground, perhaps with a dash more speed and outright focus on heaviness. The album continues along in much the same way, seeing the band leveling their crusty, blackened, sludgy sound with a variety of elements, but retaining a downtrodden, suffocating sound.
Where Tomb of Feathers was more immediately angry and visceral in its heaviness, Wound Empire seems to open more slowly, like on “Open Veins” with its crashing heaviness and swooning crescendos feigning with moody atmospherics and slow moving melodies. The album closes out with “Glowing Wounds”, which lies huddled, like a wounded animal in the corner, preparing to strike the next passerby. The music washes over with hints of ritualistic doom, hinting at a careening apex yet teasing until well over the track’s halfway point. Heavy-handed riffs and sludgy bass unfold as the track gets heavier and heavier, plateauing with the fastest and heaviest moments on the album before fading to silence.
With Wound Empire, Abstracter have molded their brand of blackened, doomy, sludge-laden, crust into a more mature and nuanced sound. The band makes the most of their forty minutes with each track writhing into a misshapen life form of its own. The growth between their debut and this album is quite remarkable and leaves one to wonder what the band will bring next. Fans of sludgy atmospheric music with a dash of blackness and crust would do well to find this.