Abyssus – Death Revival Review

Steps to ensure Steel Druhm throws his dirty ape cash at your old school death metal album: 1) Make it sound like it came from between 1987 and 1992, 2) Be as riffy and aggressive as possible, 3) Tie together nods to Obituary, Asphyx, and Death circa Leprosy/Spiritual Healing, 4) Cram some Possessed influence into all the cracks like so much snot grout. Greek death metal act Abyssus do all these things on sophomore platter Death Revival, and what’s more, they make it fun and mindlessly enjoyable to boot. How can something like that miss? It can’t, you blithering idiot. Get with the program or leave the Hall.

Death Revival makes no apologies for sounding old timey, and opener “Metal of Death” could have dropped when Ancient Steel was still High School Steel. The riffs rip along like something purloined from Possessed‘s Beyond the Gates, and when Kostas Analytis starts his wretched bellowing he sounds like an ungodly cross between Jeff Becerra and Obituary‘s John Tardy. This is all a very good thing and it’s nigh impossible to listen to this song and not love it for its brain-addled simplicity and enthusiasm. This is where death metal was in 1988 and that was a lovely place. “The Ten Commandments” takes that winning formula and adds a pinch of Leprosy to the riffs and overall structure with positive results. It’s so damn riffy it will make you thrash and bash until you need a prosthetic head, and the guitars do a few interesting, vaguely proggy things as they steamroll over your cranium like an industrial smoother.

Other fine examples of using old, rotten things to entertain modern audiences include the wild, rampaging “Genocide,” which runs amok for over 6 minutes of cascading riffs that poach from Asphyx, Pestilence and Death like it was an all-you-can-eat death metal buffet. Throw some cartoonishly overdone Obituary-esque vocals over the top and you have a can’t miss metal wonder. As highly enjoyable as cuts like these are, not every song hits the wictory bell quite as convincingly. While no track is bad, “Uncertain Future” suffers from a ham-fisted chorus that sounds exceedingly silly, and “The Beast Within” while better, is a tad underwhelming. At a super tight 33 minutes however, Death Revival essentially blasts by in a flash, with the better stuff dragging the lessers along in a turbulent jet wash. There’s scarcely time to reflect on the finer points as you are hauled through death metal history, painfully smacking into gravestones and mausoleums as you go.1

The players are all skilled and ready to showcase their old-school bona fides. Panos Gkourmpaliotis and Christos Liakos riff their hearts out with passion and verve, and most of what they throw at the crypt wall sticks like rancid flesh goo. There are plenty of nods to the greats of the early epoch, and though they mostly keep things speedy and thrashy, there are a few interesting turns toward doom and prog/tech along the way to surprise and impress (the triumphant solo that appears out of nowhere on “When Wolves Are Out to Hunt” is a killer). These cats know how to slice and scrape with a mean lead. Kostas Analytis is a total treasure of a death metal frontman, easily slipping into the skin suits of John Tardy, Jeff Becerra and Martin Van Drunen as he rasps and roars his way into your heart. The guy’s delivery is just too good and too nostalgia-inducing to resist. Add a tight backline and some tasty kit work from Jan Westermann and you have a recipe for sucess.

With slightly more consistent writing, Death Revival would be forcing another high score from yours Steely in the no man’s land of January. I’m thankful they had mercy and that what I got was still so much damn fun. Abyssus are onto something here and I want a lot more of that something. Give this 2 minutes to crack your jaded exterior and the yoke will be on you too. Revival indeed!

Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps
Label: Transcending Obscurity
Website: facebook.com/abyssus666
Releases Worldwide: January 21st, 2022

Show 1 footnote

  1. This experience is what we try to simulate in n00b camp.
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