RIEXHUMATION – The Final Revelation of Abaddon (2021)REVIEW

Brescia, Italy based death metal quartet Riexhumation make a point of labeling themselves ‘old school’ for the sake of conveying what could be gleaned as traditional death metal style that pays some mind to the lineage from the mid-80’s beyond, acknowledging the leaps made within “first apex” albums like ‘Blessed are the Sick’ while taking a strong detour within the early 2000’s revelry of that style along the way. By taste and careful focus they’ve taken stock of what held guard over the years and separated what’d strayed from pure death metallic purpose, ending with a debut full-length that is precise and brutal but never too belligerently presented. That shouldn’t suggest that ‘The Final Revelation of Abaddon‘ is entirely elitist death metal but that they’re consciously gripping their instruments with the natural spirit of death metal in mind, reaching roughly two decades prior within the artform wherein the standards were highest yet, still musical and down to earth in some sense. What does this mean for sound design, appearances, themes and structure? Dominance, subversion and anti-Christian supremacy to start, as their earliest demos, ‘No Mercy For the Weak’ (2012) and ‘Eat the Bastard Flesh‘ (2013) aimed for brutality, groove and defiance in line with a long tradition of aggressive but not entirely over the top death metal out of Italy since the mid-90’s.

We can hear the rotten spank of human flesh reserved to the previous decade in brutal Italian death still resounding within Riexhumation‘s sound on their initial demos where they weren’t exactly Voids of Vomit levels of weird nor were they hitting plainness in any sense. By the time their first official EP (‘Under the Serpent’s Dogma‘, 2017) released the band had landed the right drummer and core line-up, able to aim for a higher precision standard of speed and complexity due to most members sharing some moderate background in deathgrind. Although we can consider ‘The Final Revelation of Abaddon’ a classically attuned death metal record most listeners would be hard-pressed to compare it to anything short of the very late 90’s reprise of brutal death metal in the United States save the slower, more atmosphere closer “Triumph of Perfect Darkness”. It is an album almost undoubtedly informed by a drummer’s taste level in textural and active death metal compositions as it is a “guitar album” via riffs that are themselves capable of a percussive style just short of early Drawn and Quartered or Hate Eternal at any given moment — The ping of the snare being the major indicator for the brutality attuned listener. The guitar work itself cannot be entirely pinned down to one era or style if we consider the entire album, but the first half definitely goes hard in one direction that they never attempt to shake off. This overall light transcendence of generational placement isn’t all that novel but the tightly wound cohesion of Riexhumation‘s sound should be entirely natural to sit with and enjoy no matter what decade of death metal you’ve enjoyed most beyond 1995.

Crossing heretical historical ideas, be they symbols of Hell or apocalypse, with far future science fiction setting is both a page out of Nocturnus‘ original playbook but also in good service to the intensity that Riexhumation present up front, they are most certainly the sort of death metal you’d listen to while playing a pre-voice chat era first person shooter, all perception-based reactions, all hyper-speed boosted brutality. If you’d just fired up Side A or, the first half and hadn’t gotten beyond “Conflagration Mantra” before decrying the sameness in hand, sure, no doubt those first four pieces all bleed together into one downward slamming direction but, with “Manifestation Of The Horned-Head Presence” we see them putting down the ‘King of All Kings’-blasted attack for just long enough that we get the first solid hint of otherworldly sound effects they’ve used to convey theme (lightly) throughout the album. This is more or less where Riexhumation show a bit more flair — Slowing down and finding their best patternation within mid-to-fast paced and longer riff statements, such as the main verse riffs from “Ascension XIV”, and the development of its simple progression throughout into several variations, which is actually indicative of classic Incantation more than anything else. The first single, and perhaps most engaging piece on the album “The Vectorcvlt” uses an ear-catching electrical shock sound effect around ~35 seconds into the song and for whatever reason it ended up being the one thing I’d always remember first when reflecting upon the full listen, even if it doesn’t necessarily add much to the moment beyond signaling the first of many tonal shifts throughout the song. I’m not sure this makes the most flattering statement about how memorable the album ends up being.

Impressive as their own style is, Riexhumation spend quite a bit of this 40 minute death metal album hammering out brutal and unforgiving pieces with little more than ominous groove and impressive physical feats driving the ship. This will be great for some, rote to others. Theme and taste here are inarguably well-founded and expand into interesting enough realms but I am not sure there is that extra something in the songwriting that begs to be listened to for hours on end. I am rarely the type to say “Alright it is death metal, what else?” but in this case it took a while for some of the smaller touches they’ve applied to this album to begin to stand out, such as the slow dissolve and reprise of the final track. Art direction, sound design, performances, and overall thematic value are all there at a highly professional level but the songwriting itself falls a bit dry on repeat listens, if only because I spent the entirety of the 2000’s listening to and buying hundreds of CDs that were in a similar style. This is less the fault of the album itself and more a glitch in my own machine. Either way, I’d found myself liking and appreciating but not loving ‘The Final Revelation of Abaddon’. A moderately high recommendation.

Moderately high recommendation. (75/100)

Rating: 7.5 out of 10.
TITLE:The Final Revelation of Abaddon
LABEL(S):Lavadome Productions
RELEASE DATE:May 28th, 2021
BUY & LISTEN:Bandcamp [All Formats]
GENRE(S):Death Metal,
Brutal Death Metal

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