Remember that awesome review of Barbatos‘ Straight Metal War a year ago? Remember those silly lyrics and song titles? Remember checking out all the bands referenced because you’re a sick son of a bitch? Well, here’s Abigail, another one of Yasuyuki Suzuki’s sick and twisted metal outfits. Well, technically, Barbatos is one of Suzuki’s other bands—considering Abigail has been destroying eardrums and sexual fantasies since 1992. For these last twenty-four years, Suzuki, et al. have made a career out of old-school black/thrash/punk metal that will (for better or worse) exist forever. For those new to this Japanese monstrosity, you’re either gonna love it or hate it. And if you do end up hating it, just keep in mind, Abigail hates you too. That being said, feel free to hate the shit out of this. Because, let’s be honest, most of you will anyway.
If you do choose to take the plunge into Abigail‘s discography, know this: not a single one of Abigail‘s albums are worth a damn. Even so, I can’t help but adore their first two releases (Intercourse & Lust and Forever Street Metal Bitch“). Forever Street Metal Bitch, in particular, is an enjoyable exercise in Venomism. Unfortunately, the band chose to steer away from the filthy, punkish Darkthrone/Venom sound following that release; instead, focusing on a more black/thrash approach. Fucking Louder than Hell wasn’t too bad, but Abigail‘s exploration into the piss-drunk world of thrash and black resulted in two full-lengths and 176 splits that reeked of a beer-fest latrine. I can’t say their newest album, The Final Damnation, is much better, but at least their return to a more black/punk sound makes it enjoyable.
With the redirection to a blackish/punkish sound the band is actually “good” at, songs like “Sex & Metal” and closer “Holocaust by Evil” actually rule. And that’s saying a lot considering that “Holocaust of Evil” is seven-fucking-minutes long, but it’s the most complete song the band has ever written. It has blood-thirsty rasps (as only Suzuki can deliver), vicious guitar work, melodic segues (wait, what?), and kickass guitar solos. “Sex & Metal” also partakes in the melodic qualities of The Final Damnation. Opening the song with some gentle guitar leads and impressive soloing, the track heads off to a chorus styled around a Fenriz vocal delivery. It’s actually done well, producing a nostalgic, old-school murmur in my sick, old heart.
Outside these two tracks, everything else is pretty standard stuff. Opener “The Final Damnation,” “Open the Gates of Hell,” and “No Pain! No Limit!” bash your brains in with a black/thrash barrage, while “Whiskey Coke and Bitch” and “Sweet Baby Metal Sluts” will have your eyes rolling in your head. If you already know the band, you know what to expect. The guitars are nasty, the vocals even nastier, and there’s no accountability for anything said or done.
Unfortunately, the vocals on The Final Damnation drive me crazy. Not so much because of Suzuki’s vocal style (you get use to that over the years), but because of the way they were recorded and produced. They’ve been doing this since 2005’s Ultimate Unholy Death and every time I hear his voice I long for the raw vocals of their debut. But if you enjoy the sound of a dull hacksaw cutting through galvanized roofing, you’ll be good. The other thing that stands out is the band’s need to end every song with a solo. And there are two problems with this: first is the predictability it creates across the album and the second is that the solos are way too good for the music. Obviously, it’s not a bad thing the band has a capable guitarist. But, excluding the album closer, it’s comical that all this impressive shredding exists on The Final Damnation. But, predictable or not, these solos do make the album better.
Abigail may never make a masterpiece, but I have to admit I’m kind of impressed by their newest offering. OK, so maybe the word “impressed” is too much in this case. I suppose it’s the kind of “impressed” I would feel if I saw a bicyclist getting pitched over their handlebars and somehow manage to break every bone in their body while leaving their face unscathed. If you never liked Abigail, then don’t bother. But, if you’re as sick as I am, you’re going to have fun with Abigail‘s newest Damnation.
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 128 kbps mp3
Label: Nuclear War Now! Productions
Websites: nuclearwarnowproductions.bandcamp.com | facebook.com/ABIGAILBARBATOS
Releases Worldwide: August 22nd, 2016