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Concrete Crusher: Abstracter’s “Ashen Reign”

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Partly due to our fascination with “the new,” we expect everything we hear to be cutting-edge. This expectation oversimplifies the concept of “new” to start with: certainly, something fresh can also be immediately familiar. The concept of “trying something nobody has ever done before” is inherent in any honest musical pursuit, i.e. it doesn’t need to be a primary objective during the creation process to still matter, as long as the artist remains true-to-self. That said, ingenuity and distinctiveness still have value: if we’re all vastly different inside, the music which flows outward from within will be equally as diverse. The question is where to adhere to socialized commonalities — shared styles, or even tropes — and where to deviate. Then, there’s execution, or using all knowledge and skills at disposal.

Enter California-based Abstracter, poised to release their third full-length Cinereous Incarnate, a sinister execution of doom, death, black, and sludge metal. Much of the content will feel “close” — threads of Dragged Into Sunlight, Primitive Man, and even diSEMBOWELMENT– but the lens is bespoke. Especially dismal and in despair, and incessantly so, Cinereous Incarnate captures the nuance to the often nebulous tag “dark.” While this is ultimately just one angle (or vision) on darkness, as any band would be limited, Abstracter offers expansive, blossoming, multi-genre underground metal which encourages airy headspaces and, if you’re so inclined, deep contemplation. Check out an exclusive stream of the album’s third track and debut single “Ashen Reign” below.

A single slamming, bass-heavy chug, and a tone leading into feedback. Another chug, now with incredible sustain. Then the downs burst, and dense thickets of downtuned doom thrive on beds of slowly rolling drums. The anticipation (or anxiety) clarifies itself through guttural, hefty calls to the mental void created by the vacuuming atmosphere of “Ashen Reign” — it then spares no expense with blast beats and guitar-led noise walls to pique the track’s intensity. There’s aggression, but it feels inward and begrudgingly patient. The song is bifurcated by an eerie, feedback-saturated pause which itself precedes a well-timed repetition of the song’s booming introduction. Abstracter take their time in crafting deep visions which, ultimately, disrupt the listener’s own sense of time.

“Ashen Reign” might be Cinereous Incarnate‘s most primitively heavy track, relishing in almighty simplicity and power and eschewing any excessive technicalities. The album’s scope broadens significantly across its other tracks, though, featuring everything from high-speed death assaults to darkened drone. The key to both the track and the album as a whole is atmosphere — under this one cohesive aural umbrella, Abstracter executes in multiple styles flawlessly. Cinereous Incarnate does not offer progression per se, but rather an intricate and interesting process of deconstruction and reconstruction of sounds immediately recognizable. As far as freshness is concerned, Abstracter’s oranges are perfectly ripe.

Cinereous Incarnate releases on June 8th via I, Voidhanger Records (CD), Sentient Ruin Laboratories (US tape, digital, and worldwide LP), Tartarus Records (EU tape), Vendetta Records (EU LP), and Daymare Recordings (Japan CD).

A statement from the band:

Abstracter for us is a musical project that shall never follow any musical​ rule or live by any preconceived book of ​stylistic ​rules. We all play in other bands that do follow a heritage we adore (old school death metal, crust punk, powerviolence, black metal, etc. — all done the classic way). This is not that band. This band has some solid foundations since the beginning (Amebix, Godflesh, diSEMBOWELMENT, and Corrupted being the main starting points) that have not changed, but then those foundations are used to erect something on top that is always a mystery to us in the end. We don’t really know what states we’re in mentally and as people until the music is finished and the band lifts the veil, on ourselves, as if each album​ is a mirror looking back at us. It is like a primal pulsing force. Life defines it as it progresses. As we change as humans, then the band changes with us, revealing where we are​ and what we are​. As loss, disillusionment and the hopelessness of reality take dark turns and affect both our lives and what we see in reality as maturing adults, then the music takes these turns with us. The band has explored end-time themes and has been used as a vessel to touch total darkness for us since the inception, but Cinereous Incarnate is the darkest and most apocalyptically hopeless album to date for us, cause that’s what eye sees and heart feels deep inside these days and that ​is ​was is projected outwards and ultimately​ reflects our image back once it has taken life.

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