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Abyss, The - Summon the Beast
Review: After a first album exploring already-established themes by Gorgoroth, Emperor and other black metal bands, The Abyss move their metal into the next generation of those adopting the stylistic work of a first echeleon of innovators and while finally achieving a stylistic balance, lose all perception of content in the process and fully genericize their music. At moments brilliant guitars inevitably devolve to a riff salad of mostly disjointed but individually distinctive pieces of song and phrase, breaking between rippling melodies at speed in the style of Marduk and hammering it home with deliberately ultra-simple drumming. Vocals are a screeching black metal standard down to production and follow fairly typical rhythms for stressing major tone center shifts in each riff progression. In this dumbing-down "Summon the Beast" is not a continuation of the context established on the first album, nor of its promise.