Truly am I an Angry Metal Malcontent. I haven’t enjoyed ov deep black metal since my early 20’s: I wish folk metal would collectively gather up the pointy ears and LARP the fuck off and, to make matters worse, I’m not entirely sure I’m on board with Lord Yngwie’s position that less cannot be more.1 While the extreme genres admittedly lend themselves to excess more readily than most, I’ll often wrap up a tech or prog record just wishing the band would take a step back and more fluidly translate their material, or perhaps highlight the weft and warp of the transitions with increased clarity. Now, when faced with Abiogenesis, the debut full-length from Turkey’s Burial Invocation — a band soliciting a forward-thinking yet resolutely old-school death metal — I’m, once again, forced to weigh songwriting prowess against abject ability, progress against progressive.
Abiogenesis‘ first gambit is to lay down a dependable foundation wrought from the carbonized bones of the genre’s classic works. There are plenty of Immolation‘s capricious modifications in the riff-work but all comfortably focused through a filter of later period Death. While rhythm is king in this genre, the band knowingly compliment their brutality with a prominent sense of atmosphere, which works well within the album’s long-form tracklist. Putting their most diverse foot forward, the first of the album’s five songs opens with a somber tempo and distinctly blackened chord progressions until the death metal heft kicks in. “Revival” immediately highlights guitarist and bassist, Cihan Akün’s, advanced loquacious leads. His minute guitar lines accentuate his own chunky rhythms, and while not all the riffs are as individually powerful as they could be, they are uniformly effective.
In fact, Akün’s vision for the band is palpably potent. When he’s not waxing Symbolic with multi-faceted leads, he’s busy tearing through killer solo after solo, ever-expanding those fervent feeding grounds with ravenous old-school riffing. “Visions of the Hereafter” is perhaps the album’s most immediately heavy, yet noticeably progressive track, dropping dense slabs of rhythm that neatly co-exist alongside the song’s airier passages, eventually peaking with the record’s most stirring solo. It’s this deceptive sense of musicality that elevates much of the material, hinting at melody and technicality without veering into either genre. There is nothing of Abiogenesis‘ musical content deserving of outright criticism, but, although the band has existed in some capacity for the last decade, there are still some vestigial traces of nascence. Not all the tempo changes segue as fluidly as they might and a couple of the songs over-run by a minute or two, laboring fractionally under their advanced weight.
One issue I do take with Abiogenesis is the production. Although I would also prefer a more prominent bass, it’s the kick drum that seems cowed into oblivion, which detracts largely from skinsman, Aberrant’s, namesake beatings. The result is a dull conglomeration of low-end that blurs somewhere at the periphery of hearing. In turn, this attempts to converge with the growls of vocalist, Mustafa Yildiz, whose somewhat static deep denouncements don’t quite make the impact they could. To such, I’m not entirely convinced the album wouldn’t be just as enjoyable were it instrumental, which is solely to the detriment of the mix, not Yildiz’ ability, although his delivery could certainly benefit from some diversity. Still, it’s hard to complain when faced with songs like “Phantasmagoric Transcendence,” whose sweeping span is bolstered by a dichotomy of urgent tremolos and sections of classic Opeth-hewn melancholy.
Recently, a member of the repugnant proletariat that comprise our comment section dared to argue OSDM’s diminished worth due to a perceived inability to move beyond its throwback nature. Burial Invocation have created an album that, while not perfect, challenges such a statement by encapsulating everything that made death metal’s original sin so dangerous, whilst simultaneously progressing the genre beyond mere anachronism. Admittedly, this isn’t a new sound, but ominously armed with the same innate capacity for progression that animated such stalwarts as Nocturnus so many dread moons ago, Abiogenesis marks a fine debut, but more importantly a pernicious portent of noxious new life born from the guts of a genre content to rot but, ironically, never to die.