• JPR

Look What I Missed: Part Whatever


Thanks to a glut of fantastic new releases in 2018, not least of which is Apophys' 'Devoratis' which smashes my face in at least 3 times a day, I've not had the time to sit down and delve into my own back catalog of great metal. If you're new to Metal Abyss or my inane ramblings, I write as much about old albums and pizza flavored combos as I do legitimate metal news. It's the price the editor pays (or doesn't pay, technically) when the help is free. I'm a confessed newbie, relatively speaking, to extreme metal. Beginning with what can only be classified as an obsession with Gojira several years ago, a then 35 year old me, who had never ventured further than metalcore up to that point, was shocked to discover that my musical tastes had evolved to the point that I didn't just like death metal, I needed it in my life. If Gojira was dipping my toes into the waters of extreme metal, I quickly dove in with Be'Lakor's 'Stone's Reach' and Shylmagoghnar's 'Emergence', both bands and albums that have done as much to expand my appreciation of heavy music as 'Vulgar Display of Power' did when I was but a wee lad. Yes, they're that good, and both albums that I've written about here before. So while every day I listen to both new and upcoming releases in the hopes of turning you on to something that I think is worthy of your time and money, there's this seemingly infinite library of heavy albums that were either released before I started paying attention, or just aren't current enough to warrant putting them in the category of news, despite how great they are. Falling squarely into the later category is 'Illuminate the Path,' the 2016 debut LP from An Abstract Illusion. The trio from northern Sweden does not simply create heavy music with atmosphere or incorporate ambient passages into measure after relentless measure of blast beats, on this remarkable album they have created something genuinely beautiful. It's actually easier to think of the individual tracks here as pieces of music, as that more accurately describes the scope and grandeur of something like 'Drop This Planet of Dust.' What begins as the reverberations of the strings and keys that end 'Abode of a God', the song expands into a thunderous, ethereal other-world; lead first by an acoustic guitar that David Gilmour could have recorded, before yielding to double bass drums, a Moog-esque synth lead and then synchronous droning and growled vocals. The end result is vast; a journey within the confines of your headphones that does nothing but reward successive, engaged listens. Likewise, the title track introduces a motif via a chiming, lonesome electric guitar that weaves and bends its way into a mid-tempo, neck snapping monster; complete with a chugging, clanking bass (so often missing from otherwise great metal tracks) and a synth break that owes a debt of gratitude to Signals-era Rush. It's this incorporation of disparate sounds and influences into a harmonious whole that truly sets this album apart from both their atmospheric death metal progenitors and peers alike. For me, 'Illuminate The Path' is the gold standard for atmospheric death, and the album against which all other "beautiful" metal records shall be judged. I am not overstating the case, I believe it to be that extraordinary. But as I've also pointed out before, the last thing you want to do is to take my word for it. Fortunately for you, you can listen to the album for free on YouTube as the band was gracious enough to post it there. Like what you hear? It's available for purchase in both digital and physical forms via An Abstract Illusion's Bandcamp, as well as Spotify and iTunes. Your thoughts? Is it not one of the most gorgeous and complete listening experiences you've had in a LONG time? Am I a big fat liar who overstated the case? Should the FDA recognize pizza flavored Combos as their own food group? All of these questions and more can be addressed in the comments section. Rage on! JPR

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