Written by: AP on 31/12/2013 14:12:08

2013 has been an rewarding and, in many cases, refreshing year for Danish metal, with multiple extremely strong releases from the likes of Fall of Pantheon, Helhorse, Redwood Hill and others doing a fine job at marking Denmark as a country to keep an eye on in terms of rising (no pun intended) underground metal bands. Joining this repertoire with their sophomore album "Abominor" is Rising, whose brooding take on the sludge metal genre has been wooing audiences across the country for several years already.

Its release comes with a bittersweet flavour, as the process underlying "Abominor" was marred by severe personal and artistic differences, resulting in the exit of vocalist/bassist Henrik Hald and drummer Jacob Johansen immediately in its wake. Yet miraculously, such strife seems not to have interfered with the trio's creative cohesion. If anything, the emotional maelstrom was a catalyst, with Rising sounding darker, angrier and more grievous than its predecessor "To Solemn Ash" (which, in my opinion, was deserving of more praise than our Editor in Chief afforded it). Its themes of the frail nature of man, cowardice and valour, and hope and despair are closely intertwined with the environment and conditions under which the album was written, and as a result, "Abominor" sounds that much more personal and, above all, honest.

Opener "The Disdain" does nothing to conceal the antagonism lurking beneath, with Hald spitting his grunts out and rattling the strings of his bass guitar with gruelling enmity, and guitarist Jacob Krogholt - now the lone remaining original member - unleashing his gloomiest riffs to date. I mentioned it already in my review of "The Poet and the Parrot": there is an uncanny similarity between the sound of Bombus on that album and Rising here, namely that sombre grandeur unique to Scandinavian metal bands. The epic, yet overcast melodies at the core of each song evoke and depress, with the galloping "The Hills Below" providing the finest example of wintry desolation on the record. It's a deeply satisfying fusion of Bombus, Barricade and "Red" and "Blue Album"-era Baroness, and despite its standout character, only one among plenty of impressive moments plastered across "Abominor". "Leech" and "The Malice" are chilling, too; the former unearthing Rising's classic doom inspirations and weaving it together with riffs that might as well have been snatched off Baroness' palette a few years ago, the latter revisiting the band's hardcore and crust interests, so audible on "To Solemn Ash", in a D-beat driven pummelling perfected by the band's compatriots Barricade on their debut album "Terrorlight" earlier this year.

Really, my only qualm with "Abominor" is the fact that its songs are too meticulously classed into two categories: the crusty sludge bangers, and the more tempered (read: in terms of rhythm and tempo) picks. When judged side by side within each category, the songs have a tendency to sound a little too stringent in terms of the formula to which they subscribe, with the result that songs like "Vengeance is Timeless", "Suffering Nameless" and "Broken Asunder" fail to deliver quite as impactful a punch as the remaining tracks. But even so, the suffocating darkness and glowing intensity, which bleed through every facet of the LP are so compelling in terms of the mood and feelings they elicit, that letting such minor discrepancies distract you from the overall thread would be an unfortunate mistake. Indeed, with "Abominor" Rising cement their status as one of the premier sludge metal bands in the country, even with the future uncertainty that a new line-up and allegedly also a new album in 2014 will bring. Krogholt has already stated there will be no touring in support of "Abominor", so it remains to be seen whether or not these songs will actually ever receive a live debut.

Download: The Disdain, Reproach, The Hills Below, Leech, The Malice
For the fans of: Barricade, Bombus
Listen: Facebook

Release date 04.11.2013
Indisciplinarian Records

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