Abyssum – Poizon of god (2008)


After a little over a decade had elapsed since Abyssum’s debut, the only remaining and the leading voice of the project, Rex Ebvleb, released a full-length album titled Poizon of god. This 2008 offering was both a step forward with a nod to the old material in a conscious effort to be both consistent in the style of the project (this artist  has several projects with very distinct voices and writing procedures and inspirations). This album also sees the enlisting of drummer Akherra to the project as a permanent member of the band. Following in the steps of the methodology of Thy Call, this new comeback album follows the general songwriting approach that does not focus on what we would consider the “metal sections”, and rather uses the distorted guitars and drums as one more color in a palette for black ambient music. Overall, the underlying methodology does not diverge greatly from the debut album but there is a greater variety of pigmentation and expression, a more careful attention to detail, stronger sense of movement and a comparatively darker intent in its character.

Synths are used by themselves in a similar manner to Ildjarn’s, and when together with the metal instrumentation in a way reminiscent of Emperor’s In the Nightside Eclipse, though one can clearly see the difference in orientation that implies that the influence is specific and limited to a technique and does not detract from any claims of originality by Abyssum. Vocals are sparse and drowned in an already thin production whose space is filled out mostly by the keyboards. The exquisiteness of this album’s production lies in the clear-cut distribution in layers of the electric guitars and synths, which makes their subtle interplay all the more interesting. In addition to different synth effects that are used carefully and only where they are precisely required in a very conservative manner, an acoustic guitar graces some of the interludes and is almost invisible in the main songs but does make an appearance that fills out the texture to a delightful effect.

The extra-musical (or should I say ultra-musical, because it is beyond rather than with-out) goal is unmistakable in a humble but effective use of music as a vehicle to experience. These are explorations in sounds as pathways to portals, a trait shared with only the most profound black metal albums of a metaphysical nature. Admittedly a technically unrefined affair, this album will not do for a deep technical study but it does hold up. In addition, the balance between evocation and formal music construction preserves decorum while taken to its sensible limits in a very atmospheric-minded creation in which each single moment is virtually meaningless but the sequence of moments adds up to an idea, the sequence of such sections becomes a transformational process and the album as a whole constitutes footsteps to an epiphany. This hanging in the balance of the line between evocation and musical nonsense contributes strongly to its power, but this power is only manifested once the listener stops inspecting and looking for “interesting” musical arrangements or expressions and lets the stream of notes carry him.


The classic black metal methodology that uses repetition in clever ways to channel energies is present in its purest  form. The experienced black metal listener knows how to feel the flow of the music and latch on to it as an organism and not worry about how this or that works. The only exception to this is if the music actually fails to do this by presenting disparaged or distracted elements in a disorganized way that tries to pass for “creative”. Abyssum’s use of repetition through changing sections as stanzas in a mantra. The secret of the mantra and the black metal way is that the power lies not in the repeated passage, but in the little variations and truncations that give life to it. The black metal method, its pulse and rhythm in word and phrase alternations, can be seen clearly in the ceremonial telling of a section of The Epic of Gilgamesh:

“(…)he followed the SUN’s road to his rising, through the mountain.

When he had gone one league the darkness was thick around him, for there was no light, he could see nothing ahead and nothing behind him.

After two leagues the darkness was thick and there was no light, he could see nothing ahead and nothing behind him.

After three leagues the darkness was thick and there was no light, he could see nothing ahead and nothing behind him.

After four leagues the darkness was thick and there was no light, he could see nothing ahead and nothing behind him.

At the end of five leagues the darkness was thick and there was no light, he could see nothing ahead and nothing behind him.

At the end of six leagues the darkness was thick and there was no light, he could see nothing ahead and nothing behind him.

When he had gone seven leagues the darkness was thick and there was no light, he could see nothing ahead and nothing behind him.

When he had gone eight leagues Gilgamesh gave a great cry, for the darkness was thick and there was no light, he could see nothing ahead and nothing behind him.

After nine leagues he felt the northwind on his face, but the darkness was thick and there was no light, he could see nothing ahead and nothing behind him.

After ten leagues the end was near: After eleven leagues the dawn light appeared.

At the end of twelve leagues the SUN streamed out.”

The mantra’s text is nothing when it is not being vocalized through the inhaling and exhaling of a human medium, occasionally shuddering in the cold breeze of the mountain. In Poizon of god, the cyclic melody is the verse the stanza’s text that is not counted but is pronounced as long as it takes for a certain consciousness level to be reached. The guitars provide some of the meat and variation of this thought, sometimes concentrated, sometimes faltering, sometimes more emphatic. The drums are the lungs and heart and are the representation of organic life channeling the mantra. Spaces and silences, different percussion patterns, different emphases on the same melody, different intensities all describe the flow of living energy. In contrast to most modern black metal, though, Akherra’s drumwork adheres strictly to the purpose inherent to the music and limit themselves to complementing or counterpointing  in strict manner. In so-called modern black metal, the introduction of grooves and polyrhythms in contrasting, novel and “catchy”arrangements only work as distractions. The latter are not the sacred meditations or black ceremonies of dark adepts but rather the hedonistic, drug-and-booze-induced forest orgies of New Age youngsters.

It shares with Cóndor Nadia the quality of being very private, presenting an outwardly naive presentation that hides worlds of relations and nuances that escape all those who would barely notice these works’ discreet — even secretive — entrances. In this aspect, these two stand in contrast with works conducive to explicit black magic libations such as Morbid Angel’s Blessed are the Sick or the previously mentioned In the Nightside Eclipse. For Nadia, this is merely a by-product of its concern with a romantic and melancholic topic which to a casual listener may appear as indistinguishable from the most cliched and unoriginal — it hides an invaluable treasure in plain sight, perhaps one too precious for vulgar minds to even recognize. In the case of Poizon of god, this retreating is intentional and is an attempt at creating distance between itself and the vain, empty and pretentiously misguided so-called black metal found in abundance nowadays.

A better picture of how the outside and the innards relate to each other can be had by picturing a decrepit wooden hut built into the side of the mountain. Now imagine entering this humble abode that probably served as cellar and storehouse but is now abandoned. Dust covers everything in a quaint and nostalgic picture of ages past. The visitor who is captured by this and would contemplate this place with different eyes finds that in the backroom under a worktable there is a stunted stone doorway leading into the mountain whose presence is only captured by afternoon sun coming in through the window in a very specific angle. Whether underground worlds with their own forest and fauna or catacombs from time immemorial are to be found depends on the nature of the music as a portal and guiding spirit which allows the cosmic traveler to behold them.


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16 thoughts on “Abyssum – Poizon of god (2008)”

  1. Donaldo Trumpeta says:

    This band fucking sucks Rosales. It never went anywhere because it sucked back then as it sucks now. Stop trying to make us all believe like you found a lost gem that needs to be shown to the unsuspecting world. Abyssum sucks donkey cock and you know it.

    1. A lot of random anger here from the habitual Mexican troll.
      It is a lost gem. And it is the sort of music that really is beyond most people even if shown to them. Not sure what beef you have with the band, though. Especially given that you probably have not even listened to the album reviewed here.

      1. Donaldo Trumpeta says:

        Not even Mexican Rosales, but that ain’t the point. Point is you dig out bands from backwards countries that are nothing but a novelty and you sell it as if it were the second coming of Emperor. It’s not. You play Abyssum back to back with any of the DLA classics and you got nothing but an also ran worth shit. Take for instance Parabellum, I emailed Prozak back about ten years ago about this band, either he didn’t receive the email or clearly he dismissed it as what it is: a confused mess that might have had potential but it didn’t. Never went anywhere. Speaking of trolls, you’ve been trolling this site for quite a while now with Brett’s authorization! Save for a few awesome articles the rest has been spam. And yes, in the past I’ve contributed to the ANUS so don’t give me that shit that you’re waiting for my contribution.

        1. Your argument is cute, at best

        2. ” Not even Mexican Rosales, but that ain’t the point.”

          I know that, R.V.

        3. I’m not too keen on Abyssum, but Rosales has a good ear for good metal. From Cóndor to Horgkomostropus, David has had more hits than misses, in my view. Even if you don’t agree, you could express your criticism in a more constructive manner, like pointing out the reasons why you think Abyssum sucks.

        4. And really, what else is there to write about other than undiscovered and/or new metal? Most of the classic albums have been hashed out to the point of redundancy. They’re nice to revisit in the occasional article but you can only do it so many times.

          1. Some albums provide unique and solid experiences even if they are not first-line classics. In fact, I just have an Abigor Verwustung review lined up this week.

            1. Bert says:

              Ever notice how memes from Latin America all have grainy, low res pic resolution?

              I mean, I know how it happens. There is the original meme in English. Some fucker in South America makes the text of the meme in Portuguese. Then it gets distributed around. People share it, download it, text it, take screencaps, etc until it’s a jpeg that’s really blurry and rigid.

              David Rosales is this meme.

              1. Blurry and rigid.
                1) you lack the knowledge/experience to understand what is being discussed
                2) you do not understand the rules and think they are “rigid” because they do not make sense to you

                -> it’s ok, that is why we give you pointers of what to read, what to reflect upon.
                Remember, nobody can educate and illuminate you, you must search for it yourself.
                But we can’t do it while we keep projecting our inferiority complexes on other people.

      2. witchlancerultraslayerdeathmagicwarrior says:

        “beyond most people even if shown to them.”

        Prozak you’ve created a monster, this boy is arrogant.

        1. That wasn’t his doing, though.
          Being a realist is often confused with being arrogant. Especially when it comes to recognizing that most people are incompetent idiots.

  2. thomasw says:

    I would like to know where to listen to this music or even buy this on CD; I have heard “Thy Call” only on YouTube. The project seems to keep deliberately obscure and limited in its releases. I am quite interested in Abyssum’s “Poizon of god”, but have found only cassette tapes for sale. Unfortunately I no longer have a cassette player, so they are not useful to me. Would anyone know where to find it on CD ? Thanks for the perspicacious review; it has piqued my interest.

    1. AnonCom says:

      Just buy a cassette player. I bought a mint Walkman off a guy for less than $10 last winter. Then run it into the auxiliary port in you PC and record the cassette in some freeware sound editor. Now you have a physical copy and digital files.

    2. Emperor Tomato Ketchup says:

      A better solution would be to just line up those cassette-releasing hipsters in the courtyard and have them summarily shot.

      1. thomasw_ says:

        ETK — we’d be doing the world a favour; “hiperism” leads many astray, even to embrace the simply pointless and obsolete. hey, I have no problem treasuring the best of the past, but cassettes were always second rate media to vinyl even when they were considered compact and more portable.

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