Abusiveness – Bramy Nawii

Well this has been a week of Eastern Europe, hasn’t it?  In fact, we have a backlog of tons of stuff from the region, especially Poland.  Poland is an interesting bridge, as it were, between the East and the West.  Though Eastern Europe was once considered part of Europe long ago, now it’s still considered a separate area, but some countries closer to Western Europe often have a slight taste of the West, and Poland, being that it’s Catholic in essence and right next to Germany, is about as close as it gets, though not as hip as the Czech Republic, sadly.  Regardless of this discussion of westernization, one area that’s never been abandoned in Eastern European culture are things of the native folk, and as metal slowly reached the region, especially after the fall of the USSR, those in-born, centuries-old practices of occultism rose with pagan metal in the 1990s.  But, unlike what you find in Western Europe, where attachments to old beliefs are typically less defined, Eastern Europe never really broke tradition with its old ways, even after Christianization.


Pagan metal has sometimes been called simply an idea by a few critics, as they find little connectivity between bands, even per country, but again, it’s likely due to an issue we hinted at above if you’re not looking east.  Western Europe lost most of its traditional roots in terms of old religion and beliefs, but in the Eastern Regions, as the Church in both the West and East discovered, the Slavs were highly resistant to change and their approaches to life, as well as death, were impossible to completely dismantle.  So strong were they that, for example, in Russia their traditional day of venerating dead ancestors became part of the Russian Orthodox calendar, with the Church saying “screw it, just let them do this crap.”  So, the point is simple, Eastern Europeans, with their strong, ancestral roots and native traditions, are the most skilled crafters of pagan metal in basically the entire world.  Rarely will you find anything more pagan.  This brings us to Poland’s Abusiveness.


Abusiveness formed right around the time that pagan metal was on the rise, almost as far back as the early Amorphis days, though those guys were pretty much straight death metal back then.  After forming in 1991, they released several demos and a split until their first full-length, Krzyk świtu, appeared in 2002 to critical acclaim.  Since then they’ve had some generally solid work, which brings us to their most recent album, Bramy Nawii (“The Gates of Nawia”).  Nawia is the old Slavic underworld, which serves as the perfect backdrop for this release as a whole, as Abusiveness fully display their technique and power, which, introduced by a thunderstorm, is much like the ancestor gods.  Abusiveness use a careful mix of pagan, without the usual overdose of folk, combined with black metal.  This, however, is merely the basic approach, because as they’ve proven before these Poles are able to bend the typical chording and blasting into epic, otherworldly passages like leafing through the cool parts of the Wielkopolska Chronicle.  When these guys need to crush, they crush, when they need to chant, they chant, and it’s a war-like chanting that hearkens back to bygone times.  Splendid mixture of styles sure to please any pagan or black metal fan, with high-end production that never crosses the line.  One more issue to note, there aren’t really any stand out tracks, it’s just a straight, seamless listen beginning to end, which works out much to their favor, and yours.


Abusiveness Official Facebook

Written by Stanley Stepanic

Abusiveness: Bramy Nawii
Arachnophobia Records
4.8 / 5