Static Abyss - Labyrinth of Veins (Peaceville Records)
What comes to mind when thinking of being lost in a labyrinth? The claustrophobia among the towering walls? The panic of never finding the exit? The terror that perhaps you are not alone and, if you are not, what else could be wandering the corridors?
Like a finely crafted horror story, Static Abyss channels all these feelings and more in their debut album, Labyrinth of Veins (Peaceville Records).
Fitting in right at home on the very label that launched the death-doom movement in the early 1990s through the early works of Anathema, My Dying Bride, and Paradise Lost, the album is ten tracks of thrilling madness. No surprise given that the duo behind the band are also members of legendary death metal titans, Autopsy.
Descend into the labyrinth with the the heart pounding "Feasting On Eyes", where the first minute and a half is a rush before a suspenseful passage that perfectly reflects the awe and horror of the maze itself. "Nothing Left to Rot" continues to pull back the curtain of the size of the labyrinth while introducing the feeling of uneasiness that continues to build in "Mandatory Cannibalism".
At over six minutes, the title track is a doom trip through the darkest regions of the abyss. Rest assured, gnashing guitars and furious drums return on "Jawbone Ritual" and "Contort to Death". All roads fast and doomy come together in "Clawing to the Top of the Dead" where vocalist/drummer Chris Reifert's howls leave open the questions of whether you have escape the labyrinth or not. Are the roars of victory or of a broken soul forever searching for a way out?
The Metal Mayan rating: 5/5
As the original home of the pioneers of the death-doom subgenre, I trust Peaceville in their support of bands that carry that flag in modern times. Add to it that members of Autopsy are involved, a band that needs no introduction in the death metal community, and you know it's going to be a stellar offering.
As with many death-doom albums, this is an experience from start to finish as opposed to 'pick a favorite track'. The blend of elements from both genres is so well done, you forget this is a debut and not a classic of the genre. Whether this stays as a side project or becomes something a little more involved, there is definitely much to be enjoyed from this album.
Visit your favorite record store to pick up a copy of Labyrinth of Veins, out now on Peaceville Records!
Advanced copy courtesy of Secret Service PR and Peaceville Records