ABADDON INCARNATE are one of those bands who can arguably sum up their mission statement in their name alone. With the first part taken from a Biblical term for a place of destruction or doom, and/or the resting place of the dead, these Irish deathgrinders are as good a case of ‘does what it says on the tin’ as any. They’ve actually been around for a fair while now – since the 90s in fact – although a quick glance at their Spotify numbers points to a relatively niche following. To be fair to them, The Wretched Sermon is their first full-length in eight years. Their sixth overall, it arrives this Friday via the ever dependable Transcending Obscurity Records.
As deathgrind goes, ABADDON INCARNATE play things pretty straight on The Wretched Sermon. In fact, they almost seem to strike a dead-even balance between the two components of their chosen genre. Taking the riffy heft and technical flashes of one, the more blistering fury of the other, and the gleeful brutality of both, this is just about as close to the middle of the death metal/grindcore Venn diagram as you’ll get. Quite naturally, it often ends up pretty near to NAPALM DEATH, which can only ever be a good thing. This is just quality stuff, familiar in its savagery, and yet fresh enough in execution.
Interestingly though, the press notes for the record do promise a bit of experimentation. Maybe it depends on what you’re looking for, but if we’re being honest that does feel like a bit of a stretch. Especially on the first couple of listens, and in the opening chunk of the record in particular, The Wretched Sermon doesn’t really throw up any huge curveballs. Thrasy HM-2 riffing, barky vocals, breakneck blast beats – nothing wrong with any of it but we have definitely heard this stuff before haven’t we? As the album goes on, there are a few moments that deviate a touch from the relentless onslaught – the creeping pianos at the end of Killing Spree; the ominous little guitar bookends of Into The Maelstrom; the lengthier expanse of Isolation And Decay – but ultimately the goalposts stay firmly in place.
Laying aside a slight case of overpromising in the press notes however and there is still plenty to like about this record. There’s just something so primal and enticing about the riffs and chugs of a track like Epic Desecration for example; or the winding tom-driven groove of Parasite which arrives hot on its heels. Elsewhere, Hideous Arise provides a 76-second barking, squealing beast; the aforementioned Into The Maelstrom a raging double kick pummeller; and Resurrected From A Mass Grave a driving, deathy chugger capped off with one of the album’s nastiest guitar solos. It all sounds great too, the drums crisp and clear beneath razor sharp HM-2 guitars and a steady low-end rumble.
Given how little it ends up deviating from its primary gear of ferocity, The Wretched Sermon does quite an impressive job of making 35 minutes run by. It’s hardly obscenely long, but there’s always a risk with music like this that anything over half an hour is too much. Fortunately, that’s not the case here. As you might expect from their decades of experience, ABADDON INCARNATE are very good at what they do, and while they may not rip up the rule-book as much as some of the most cutting edge bands in the genre today, it’s still easy enough to enjoy playing the game their way.
The Wretched Sermon is set for release on August 5th via Transcending Obscurity Records.
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