Assumption – Absconditus (2018) REVIEW

Conceived in the interim between Undead Creep‘s dissolution and the formulation of Morbo‘s first full-length, this Italian death/doom metal project began with the duo of multi-instrumentalist Giorgio Trombino and drummer David collaborating with shared interest in classic death metal and extreme doom metal groups in mind. Not intending to be ‘retro’ but rather to put their spin on the psychedelic experimentation of groups like Esoteric and Disembowelment. I stumbled upon Assumption around 2014 as I was writing a feature on death metal that featured psychedelic instrumentation and/or hallucinatory themes. After seeing the band’s Disembowelment styled logo I had certain expectations for their sound and dove into their 2012 demo ‘Mosaic of the Distant Dominion’. That demo was perhaps closer to Ceremonium in style than I’d expected, and impressed me enough to get their 2014 EP ‘The Three Appearances’ a few months later.

‘The Three Appearances’ kicked off with mid-paced death metal immediately and won me over easy by firing at full speed out of the gate. It was a fantastic EP and it’s Eternal Darkness, Winter and Evoken influenced atmospheric death/doom style is exactly the type of death metal I am drawn to most. I’d really liked the demo but, ‘The Three Appearances’ is a release I still return to fairly often. It set a good high bar for death/doom in general. I lean towards the pure death metal side of things, though, and the funeral doom influenced psychedelia of their demo filled about 4-5 minutes of the 30 minute EP. Assumption‘s full-length debut, ‘Absconditus’ remedies that by returning to the core Floyd-ian death concept of their demo recording while keeping the heavier moments geared towards atmospheric death/doom sections you’d find on ‘Transcendence Into the Peripheral’.

The atmospheric builds, psychedelic synth, and watery clean guitar plucking of ‘Absconditus’ resembles a middle ground between the funereal death/doom of Evoken‘s ‘Antithesis of Light’ and the ‘Lost Paradise’-informed debut Ceremonium album ‘Into the Autumn Shade’. I struggled with this a bit at first as I was hyped up for an iteration of ‘The Three Appearances’ and I grew impatient with the slow-building atmospherics and quieter moments of ‘Absconditus’. Once I’d calmed down and found the right head-space to give it a fair shake, the album grew on me. The loud-quiet dynamics of this death/doom record offers the same dissociative immersion that funeral doom often does in it’s quieter moments but, Assumption have absolutely not lost their knack for frighteningly heavy death metal.

At nearly 40 minutes and three songs ‘Absconditus’ is the type of record that is less demanding than a lot of modern death/doom metal releases today that often clock in at twice the length. The music itself functions well in different situations and I found it impressed as focused listening as well as background music, depending on the task. In this way it resembles Disembowelment the most, as it can be spectacle or sonic drapery alike. I found myself listening to “Beholder of the Asteroid Oceans Part I & II” on repeat for a while and I fully consider it the high point of the record, but I think nothing would have been lost if it were cut at the 8:50 minute mark into it’s natural two parts. It is a very minor point but I found myself wanting to go straight to Part II and having to scrub over to that second part. The overall listening experience was complete and satisfying.

2018 is at no deficit for top-tier death/doom and funeral doom metal so far and Assumption‘s debut full-length still manages to stand out in the crowd. As an avid death/doom fan I approach this genre with high regard and feel a responsibility to ‘follow the riffs’ in a sense and favor the guitar work over atmospherics. Yet ‘Absconditus’ doesn’t make me choose between the two, offering wave propagation large and small with great doom gravity when it counts. The themes and lyrics posit the void and death beyond and thankfully the tone of it’s quietude doesn’t inspire the usual gothic doom pallor; ‘Absconditus’ instead looks to hide in the chaotic void of space for reprieve from the pains of human existence. Highly recommended for death/doom and funeral doom heads that gravitate towards Evoken, Ceremonium, and Disembowelment. And for fuck’s sake buy the ‘The Three Appearances’ EP too if you haven’t heard it yet.

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Artist Assumption
Type Album
Released April 20, 2018
BUY/LISTEN on Everlasting Spew Records’ Bandcamp! Follow Assumption on Facebook
Genres

Dying backwards, sinking inward. 4.0/5.0

 

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