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Cleansing of an Ancient Race (1994)
 

Abyssic Hate had quite the following in the Black Metal underground, some years back. Unfortunately, each promise of a new album has been broken over the course of the past twelve years or so. Surely, this may have something to do with why one hears this band's name less and less, compared to just five or six years back. Shane Rout's musical contributions began nearly twenty years ago and, though his work was hardly that unique, he did well for himself with the few releases that were spawned from those early years. The first Abyssic Hate demo, Cleansing of an Ancient Race, established a sound that was based on the Norwegian style of Black Metal. Of course, in 1994, this was hardly an isolated thing. Countless bands were ripping off the likes of Darkthrone and Burzum, and Abyssic Hate was no different.

Featuring six proper songs, this demo lasts just under half an hour. Most of the songs consist of tremolo melodies and fast drumming, fitting well alongside albums such as Under A Funeral Moon and Transilvanian Hunger. The fuzzy guitar sound really hearkens back to the former, in a way. However, Abyssic Hate was not simply paying homage to the early recordings of Nocturno Culto, Fenriz and Zephyrous (can't forget him). There are hints of Burzum to be found, here and there. Obviously, as this was recorded prior to the release of Filosofem, that influence is not present and all-consuming as it would be on Suicidal Emotions. Still, some of the riffs are reminiscent of early Burzum. The same can be said for the drumming, with some primitive use of double bass underneath the mournful and repetitious melodies. The tempo is not the same throughout, as there are plenty of mid-paced and slower parts to be heard. Naturally, if you just pop the CD in and skip from one to the next, only previewing the first few seconds, you will get an entirely different impression, as all of the songs begin at a higher speed before shifting in one way or another. The atmosphere given off by this recording is sombre and well-suited for nocturnal blood rituals, particularly those created by the morose closer, "Bloodletting".

For a demo, the sound is pretty good. This is much more clear than the earliest recordings from Gorgoroth, Enslaved or even Varg's demos. The guitars are distorted but yet the production is clear enough for the riffs to be recognized and followed. There is no need for the type of effort that one might have to put into an old Moonblood tape, for example. The drumming is loud enough to be heard, though still fairly buried in the mix. Though it is probably a drum machine, the sound is not so inauthentic as to really distract from the music. As for the vocals, they are similar to those of Nocturno Culto's on Under A Funeral Moon or Quorthon's on Under the Sign of the Black Mark. In fact, on "Damned for Eternity", one can even hear somewhat of an old Bathory influence, though it is more likely that this is because the Darkthrone albums that he worshiped possessed this, rather than any real connection with the originator of the sound.

In the end, Cleansing of an Ancient Race is a solid effort. With one or two more songs, as well as a proper release, this could have easily been a full-length album. Though the obvious Darkthrone-worship is the primary inspiration for this demo, it is done well and Abyssic Hate may have been the only band in Australia that was following the northern Black Metal sound as opposed to the others that seemed to look more toward the likes of Beherit or Blasphemy. This is probably hard to find in its original form; however, it has been released as part of the A Decade of Hate compilation.
 
(2 July 2013)

 
 

Following a series of demos, Abyssic Hate released the Eternal Damnation E.P. in 1998, through Darker Than Black. Consisting of only four original songs, this recording is not all that unique or captivating, but it is fairly decent Black Metal in the vein of early Darkthrone, particularly Transilvanian Hunger.

After a completely useless intro, "Knight of the Living Dead" rips forth with cold and mournful tremolo melodies that are actually quite memorable, even haunting at times. The drumming sounds like it is probably programmed, which would make sense since this is a one-man project. Either way, it is not bad and does a decent job of keeping time and little else. The riffs flow well, from one to the next, and the progression is logical as each one builds on its predecessor. The vocals sound similar to Varg's approach on Filosofem, though more distant and a bit weaker. This is one of the main flaws of the recording, as the vocals do not do enough to add to the overall atmosphere of the songs. By the middle of the track, the pace slows down and more epic melodies unfold, creating depth and demonstrating that, while the playing may be very influenced by Darkthrone, the actual songwriting is much less minimalist.

"Human Despair" follows the same formula, more or less. This is pure worship of the early 90s Norwegian Black Metal scene, and there is absolutely no denying it. That said, at least Abyssic Hate does an adequate job of it, unlike so many others. As with the previous track, the guitar riffs flow naturally, though some of the riffs are less than impressive. The mid-paced part is less useful and the riffs become boring. The lyrics are a joke, as well, sounding about as emo and pathetic as possible, even making references that almost seem to show some sort of acceptance of Judeo-Christian mythology. Hopefully, this was merely for poetic effect.

This is contradicted on the following track, "Attack!", which at least makes use of some common Black Metal themes of violence and anti-Christian sentiment. Musically, it is superior to the last song, just for the fact that it is more straightforward and keeps the blasting pace, without the ridiculous double-bass parts. It features some memorable tremolo melodies and is one of the better songs on here.

"The Blood War" maintains the same style, though it has become repetitive and boring at this stage. The problem with this sort of approach is that the band must have very interesting riffs, or else it falls flat after a while. It features a slower part that does not do much to add to the song, and the whole endeavour sounds as if it has been heard before.

The final song is an Absurd cover, "Victory is Ours". There is little to say about this, as it does not fit in too well with the rest of the material, but at least it has a slightly different feel to it. It is very short and neither adds to nor detracts from the overall quality of the release.

Eternal Damnation is a decent E.P. but not essential in the slightest bit. These songs were later released on a compilation album titled A Decade of Hate, so they should be rather easy to find. While this comes off as a little generic and uneventful, "Knight of the Living Dead" and "Attack!" are worth hearing and are probably the best songs Abyssic Hate has ever recorded. That said, they are far too derivative and bear little original thought; therefore, one cannot be surprised that this band has not recorded a single note in over a decade.
 
(30 Oct. 2011)

 
 

Abyssic Hate is a one-man band, from Australia, created by Shane Rout in 1993. The style of music could certainly be categorized as suicidal Black Metal, with heavy influence from Burzum, Strid and I Shalt Become. After a string of demos and an E.P., Abyssic Hate finally released a full-length album. This was released by No Colours Records, in May 2000. As of this writing, it's the only L.P. that Mr. Rout has managed to put together. Nonetheless, this single album has made Abyssic Hate very popular, in certain circles, with many still dying for a follow-up. Unfortunately, the only release since then was the compilation, A Decade of Hate, featuring earlier demo material.

Suicidal Emotions consists of four songs, with three of the four clocking in well over ten minutes long. The scarred-up figure on the cover of the album suits the feeling quite well, as this is the type of music that you listen to when you are overcome by great sorrow and a longing to spill your own blood. The dark melodies of "Depression Part I" are both hauntingly miserable and beautiful at the same time. While listening, you almost become lost in some ethereal realm of sadness and despair. Agony is the air that you breathe while pain washes over you with every passing second. This feeling continues on through "Betrayed" and "Depression Part II". The sound is almost a mixture of the aforementioned bands, as well as some Katatonia. These are the sounds of eternal damnation; no, not in the fictional Hell of Judeo-Christian mythology, but rather the very real Hell that exists on this earth as we know it. There is something almost hypnotic about the compositions, here, as they are structured very well. There is enough repetition to allow one to drift off, as if in a trance, yet the songs are dynamic enough to take you on a journey through the dark recesses of your own feeble mind. This is especially true of "Despondency", which is the longest song on the album.

The album utilizes, mostly, tremolo riffs and an abundance of open-arpeggio riffs. The guitar sound is cold and sharp, cutting through your skin like the razor that you hold between your fingers. You welcome this sensation, as each caress from its rusted edge brings to your view another crimson stream that flows in the candlelight. Sometimes, you may be pushing yourself to reach for an end, to go deeper and deepeer until you've gone too far and the blood begins to gush forth, unceasingly. Other times, you just need to see the blood. It almost calms you, in some unknown way. And there are times when the pain that you suffer is so severe that you want the outside to match the inside; it helps to see some visual sign of that which afflicts you internally. Then again, there are times when you begin to feel nothing at all, as the emptiness consumes your soul, and the blood is a reminder that you are still alive, though you may not feel it. As the album progresses, the melodies become more like razor wire that slowly wraps around you, loosely, while you are only moderately aware of what is happening. As the mournful sounds fill your ears, you unknowingly tighten the grip of the razor wire around your body. By the time you realize it, it's too late. Freezing and alone, your every move causes your flesh to be shredded to pieces. As time goes on, you continue to tear away at yourself, just through your pathetic efforts to live. Everything you do, every choice you make only causes it to become worse. The only solution is death. This is the dark beauty of this music.

The primary weakness of this album, and the most detrimental factor, is the vocal delivery. The vocals are buried in the mix, seeming to be flat and lifeless. It is even possible to ignore the programmed drums, as it isn't really an issue. However, the vocals are sub-par and are incapable of conveying the same sense of melancholy that is imbued in the listener via the guitar melodies. He tries, but effort does not always equal success. This is why one-man bands are often ranked among the average and mediocre, because one person simply cannot do everything and realize his full potential. Despite this, the depressingly epic guitar melodies carry this release.

Suicidal Emotions is marked by Shane Rout's musical influences, yet it is all filtered through his particular vision to create something so bleak and dismal as to take the listener to a much darker place. The melodies truly reach inside of you and tear at those things which you attempt to keep hidden, even from yourself. One cannot help but feel an oppressive sense of pressure, as if someone is sitting on your chest, while listening to this. It becomes difficult to breathe and the dominating though on your mind is to seek an end to it all. There is no forgiveness, no redemption for your mistakes. You are a failure and your life has amounted to nothing. You have brought nothing but disappointment and grief to those unfortunate souls who have been associated with you. Everyone would be better off if you would end your life. Most importantly, you would be better off. Life is pain. Death is what you seek.
 
(22 Sept. 2009)

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