And behold, in a completely surprising and, most importantly, unexpected manner, the strongest candidate for the best Brazilian Black Metal album of 2023 has arrived. Damn, what an overwhelmingly devastating album, what an unspeakable experience. I’m talking about “The Abyss Beckons” from the mysterious secret project UNFATHOMABLE, which appeared from who knows where, announcing its first album that will be released in the coming days by the label Hammer Of Damnation . The band chose to hide in the shadows not revealing its line up, allowing its music to speak for itself. And if it depends on the eight tracks that make up “The Abyss Beckons,” what the scene will hear is a loud and mournful cry invoked from the darkest depths of the abyss. Forget aesthetic beauty, forget melodic relief, forget refinements in production… The norm here is to embrace chaos, torment, and destruction, alluding to a simpler time when social norms were rougher and without frills, just like the Black Metal executed at the time.
The brief introduction of “Hellgate Vatican” already shows us the iconoclastic concept of this album in a few seconds and immediately throws open the gates of hell, presenting us with fast, brutal, and violent Black Metal with cavernous guttural vocals that seem to echo from the depths of a long-lost and forgotten tomb. The drum lines sound like a tank crushing skulls, and the guitar lines strive to remain basic and successfully memorable. All the obliteration shown in the first track is turned upside down in “Abyssal Dominion,” which starts slow, dragging, full of a morbid and desolate atmosphere, presenting us with a sonic representation of a true dive into the endless depths of the darkest abyss. It’s curious how these two extremes of the band’s sound show us soundscapes that are simultaneously so close and so distant, which in some ways reminded me of bands like Archgoat and early Beherit. These are names worth remembering, as they were strongly influenced by the Brazilian scene, completing an interesting cycle.
“The Goat’s Revelation” follows, beginning with a slower riff but quickly evolving into a chaotic and overwhelming maelstrom. It’s interesting to note how the central part of this composition reaches a climax, changes its tempo, and takes us to a different sonic atmosphere before returning to its initial proposal, as if the instrumental part itself were telling us a story, or as the track title suggests, delivering a sensational revelation. The next tracks are “Gate to Darkness” and “Mythos Unleashed,” and by this point, you’ve probably noticed that despite the band’s apparent goal of maintaining a raw and crude sound, as some bands did in the past, what we have here are extraordinary instrumentalists who can polish riffs to the point where they seem like rough diamonds, while still preserving subtleties that may not be apparent to a less attentive listener at first. Observe some uncommon drum fills, some guitar picking techniques in the first mentioned track, and especially the final riff of “Mythos Unleashed.” “Ashes of Dogma” is next and already lives up to its title; the beginning of this composition is splendid and will stay stuck in your head for days. Currently, it’s my favorite track from “The Abyss Beckons,” but that could change as the weeks go by, as has happened in previous weeks. This is something to expect from an album with such cohesive compositions and exceptional quality.
“Inferno Crown” is next, alternating between fast pandemonic moments and slower, more reflective ones. It’s one of those songs you should listen to several times to grasp the various details that permeate it. I can’t explain why, but this track at times brought to mind the first album by the French Black Metal band Arkhon Infaustus.
“Primordial Chaos” erupts next and already carries in its title the description of this composition, transitioning from slower moments to ultra-violent passages filled with blast beats. A chaotic, annihilating song that will blow your mind. The album closes with “Malleus Maleficarum,” which maintains the same sonic direction and the dark atmosphere of the previous tracks but, from my perspective, seems to be the most elaborate composition of the entire album. Although it doesn’t deviate from the rest of the material that the band has presented in this unique and overwhelming album, it may be a sign of what the future holds.
The musical production is extremely organic and filled with rough edges, just as a true Black Metal album should sound, at least in my opinion. The cover art is a perfect visual expression of the sound presented throughout the album: dirty, blasphemous, sick, simple, and raw.
Now, it remains to be seen if the aura of mystery that the band has created will persist, as a live performance is scheduled in the coming days, with UNFATHOMABLE opening for the Belgian band ANCIENT RITES on October 14th. This show promises to shake the foundations of the Necropolis Hall and may or may not reveal secrets of the band to those in attendance. As for “The Abyss Beckons,” I can only conclude by saying that it’s another shotgun blast to the head that Hammer of Damnation delivers point-blank. Mandatory, as is customary…