Abyssal – Anchored


Funeral doom is a genre I know in theory but not really in practice. It’s not as though I avoided the genre, I just never found a band that really stood out to me. The concept of funeral doom seemed superfluous, doom metal was already a slow genre with depressing themes. What set funeral doom apart from all the other subgenres? I listened to Abyssal’s “Anchored” and now I feel like I know what funeral doom is supposed to be.

Funeral doom is slow, it plods like an elephant through a swamp but at the same time it is not drone, there is some atmosphere to Abyssal but not the wasp buzzing I’m getting used to hearing from drone metal. And yet again, it’s not like cosmic black metal and with its spacey atmosphere. It’s a heavy atmosphere, oppressive. At the same time it doesn’t weigh the music down and turn it to sludge, it balances all the production on the edge of a cliff. I don’t know if Abyssal (and by extension Anchored) has a typical sound for funeral doom but it’s going to be my benchmark for what I expect to hear from the genre. 

So now let’s actually talk about Anchored, the latest from the Tijuana quintet. Like all their albums it’s a one song outing that lasts well over 30 minutes. I have to admit, I love long songs, very long songs (likely why I’m such an Opeth and Summoning fan) because all of them rely more on classical music construction rather than rock/jazz music construction. I was raised, more or less, on classical music so I feel much more comfortable listening to classically constructed music, it feels more natural, it’s a better reflection of the artist and listener. Abyssal sails through those 30 minutes with grace borne of experience, it’s a slow ride through the ether in this album, with cathedral echoes and rough-around-the-edges tones and ambient soundscapes Abyssal acts as our ferryman over the Styx. I can’t say enough good things about Abyssal and Anchored. Ironically enough I feel untethered when I listen to it, as though the more I listen to the music the more the universe unfolds. Yet thanks to the dirge like profession of the musical notes, I never feel as though I could get lost; I can float on this sea of heavy, depressive sound and remain close to the epicenter of this behemoth. This is not an album that can be missed.


9/10

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