Stop me if you’ve heard this one before: in an alternate universe where musical ideas are themselves beings, three idea-beings walk into a bar. The first one is incredibly boring and pretentious yet still quite popular, and his name is Nachtmystium P. Floyd. The second is loud and already drunk, and his name is Rattus Kaaos; upon spying him the bartender mutters “raucous Finnish punk” under his breath. The third is Ornassi Pazuzu, who categorically refuses to stop droning on about anything and everything psychedelic. The nightly cover band got food poisoning, so there was an impromptu call for music. These three all wanted to jam so went up together, played, and wondered if they should keep this gig up. They did, and now we have Abyssion and their third full-length Luonnon Harmonia Ja Vihreä Liekki, also known as Ctrl-V: The Album.
Okay, so the “joke” wasn’t at all funny, but it served a purpose in describing the sound of Luonnon Harmonia Ja Vihreä Liekki. Take roughly the version of black metal that populated Nactmystium’s Black Meddle duo and Silencing Machine, add a healthy dose of the simplistic Finnish punk bands like Rattus and Kaaos deal in to the riffs, and take a walk on the wild side with Ornassi Pazuzu’s psychedelic interpretation of black metal. Abyssion comes across as psychedelic punk music with a moderate black metal influence, with electronics that recall later Nachtmystium and Ornassi Pazuzu’s Valonielu often popping up and quickly strummed guitars droning in a mostly unthreatening atmospheric fashion with simplistic riffs and progressions.
Where Abyssion succeeds is in creating an enticing live atmosphere, one where you can almost smell the sweat and booze of the hole in the wall these guys are terrorizing. This is an aspect that’s indicative of their punk influences, and what separates their music from Nachtmystium’s and Ornassi Pazuzu’s. The final quarter of “Kosmoksesta Tuli Hautani” sees the blackened punk in its finest form, layering a riff that clings to the second wave by a thread over what becomes a nearly hypnotic skank beat, and while it eschews the psychedelic electronics that pepper the record and as such play a role in Abyssion’s identity, it’s easily Luonnon Harmonia Ja Vihreä Liekki’s strongest moment.
Where Abyssion fails is in doing anything with the atmosphere they’ve created. They brought me to a booze-soaked basement show with good musicians hammering out some tunes, but I’m bored. Put another way, Luonnon Harmonia Ja Vihreä Liekki sounds like it would be fun to experience live, but with that comes a social and environmental element that listening to music on speakers or headphones cannot replicate. Another major failing is the heavy-handed implementation of punk into the mix. The songs average out to five minutes and change each, and genres like punk and crossover live and die by short blasts, something Rattus themselves took to heart on the decent Turta. With punk’s one-dimensional primitivism influencing every aspect save for the electronics noises, a song like “Luonnon Harmonia” becomes torturous in its overall dearth of interesting riffs and drum patterns, and it carries on for seven and a half minutes. “Vihrea Liekki” introduces an interesting bit of Americana into the proceedings, but promptly abandons it and goes into more dull blackened punk riffing that carries on far too long instead of doing something of worth with it.
What Abyssion have given us on Luonnon Harmonia Ja Vihreä Liekki is an atmosphere that spends a seemingly endless twenty-six minutes asserting itself with strikingly scant worthwhile content, coming across as mere background noise instead of a recommendable listening experience. While the production is good and keeps a nice live vibe with entirely acoustic drums and guitars that are doubtlessly played through real amps, such an effort on this front is for nought when what’s being played scarcely merits attention. A good atmosphere that once established creates no interest can in no way be considered a success; good frames, as Refused once said, won’t save bad paintings.