Abysmal Grief – Blasphema Secta (Ouija Metal)

I was really drawn to the art of this one, by the current guitarist of Abysmal Grief Regen Graves, and I also wanted to give it a shot because I'm pretty sure I've never reviewed anything from Sun & Moon Records or Terror from Hell Records before. If I did it was before the new site was launched over five years ago. I'm also pretty sure I never heard of this band, but doing a quick check on Encyclopaedia Metallum I saw quickly they were from Italy (uh oh), and were categorized as "doom". Again I question whoever is putting that site together, but maybe they just haven't gotten around to fixing it yet. It's the Wikipedia of metal, basically. First off, you might be raging, because I just hinted that when I hear the word "Italy" I'm somehow turned off to the country musically. Not true, I've just encountered way too many amateur comedy troupe acts out of the country in the realm of metal, so I was worried. It's a logical worry, though, trust me, but I've also reviewed several great Italian bands over the years, including Grime not so long ago. But doom metal worried me, because Italian power metal and thrash is often formulaic, so I would expect much of the same out of a "doom" band because I've seen some bad ones from Italy, but are they doom, this Absymal Grief? Yeah no.

  

I'm really curious who thought they were. I did a sampling of their older work, and of course this current album I'm reviewing, in totality, Blasphema Secta. Doom? I mean barely, that tag is far too general for this band, but that's not a good thing today. If you want to force me to tag it, it would be more accurate to say occult doom, or maybe Goth doom? That just sounds like how you feel at Goth night. I'm also thinking such a feeling could be called Blasphema Secta. Abysmal Grief have been around a surprisingly long time, over twenty years now, which is an amazing run for any band, let alone one like this. Their sound mixes instrumentation beyond the usual guitar/bass/drum trinity of usual doom. There are keyboards, what sounds like a real violin, so yeah, that has all the hallmarks of Goth metal, actually. But there's this occult sound to the band's work, in the sense of trash cinema from the 1970s. This is easily illustrated with track three, "Maleficence," where the keyboards provide a fitting, if not close-to-kitsch backdrop. Other moments, like the irritating harpsichord that occasionally winks at the viewer to say "yeah, they're going there," are far too silly to take seriously. This would have worked fine back in the 1970s, but now it just comes off like a joke. Other moments are powerful, with atmosphere and emotion, not to mention a splendid vocal variety that keeps your interest when the harpsichord is about to destroy it. It leaves me with a question for the potential listener. Do you take Ouija boards seriously or do you mess with them just for fun? If the former, you actually might enjoy this as genuine artistry. As you can probably tell, I simply cannot, there's far too much in Blasphema Secta that destroys the better moods with puerility.

 

Abysmal Grief Has No Official Facebook

Written by Stanley Stepanic

Abysmal Grief: Blasphema Secta
Sun & Moon Records, Terror from Hell Records
3.3 / 5