Colts are young male horses. Colts, assuming that they are not neutered in their upbringings, will eventually grow up to be stallions, free to roam the range, gallop at high speeds, and get their horsey groove on with the nice mare a few barns down. I know you’re thinking to yourself, “Gee, Mr. Grymm, why the educational lesson on horses?” (Okay, you’re not thinking this at all, but roll with me here, dear readers.) As mentioned earlier, horses are fast creatures, hence their use as a mode of transportation in the olden days. Coltsblood, a fairly new band from Liverpool, England, is so very, very, very not fast. At all. Into the Unfathomable Abyss crawls and lurches like a pissed off, swamp-covered turtle in a race that’s impossible to win nor does it care for victory, but will you stay involved through all 58 minutes of its marathon duration?
Thundering drums, swirling guitars and droning bass lead the charge in the appropriately-titled “Valhalla Awaits” before bleeding into the sloooooooooow dirge of “Beneath Black Skies,” continuing with the percussive drilling crawling to a snail’s pace, lurching riffs by Jem, and the tortured screaming of bassist/vocalist John McNulty (ex-Conan). The feeling of ick and despair grows with each heavily-compressed second, until halfway through it goes through a blackened punk furore, thrashing and bludgeoning, before retreating back into its slime pit for the remainder of the song. Closer “Return to the Lake of Madness” is quite the sombre last chapter of an album if there ever was one, with Jem’s guitar sadly howling over the backdrop like a lost soul. VERY awesome. So far, so good, right?
Not so fast. “Abyss of Aching Sanity” may or may not test your patience, and it all hinges on your love of all things SunnO))), because this song requires more patience than a sloth trying to complete the first stage of Demon’s Souls after one too many tokes and several local IPAs. This is “even Lee Dorrian is fucking bored” slow, and it doesn’t help that Jem’s noodling “solo” halfway in goes nowhere, further losing any and all attention that I paid the first two songs. Which is a shame, as she’s quite the riffmaker. “Ulfheonar” also suffers from too much repetition over its eleven-minute length.
Soundwise, it’s what you’d expect from a droney doom metal record… lots of fuzz, THICK drums and bass, and vocals hiding somewhere in the middle, making an appearance only when necessary. Speaking of drums, Steve Primeau’s drumming keeps the monotony from becoming too overwhelming, summoning his inner Neurosis to keep things interesting throughout the duration of Into the Fathomable Abyss. Also, that’s some pretty sweet album art.
Coltsblood have a good idea going, but a lot of the fat needs to be filleted off, as there’s about 26 minutes worth of good ideas on a 58-minute album. As it stands, there is quite a bit of work to be done to catch up to the robed ones. Here’s to the next round.