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Evil (1991)

The music of Abruptum is something that can be difficult to describe. Released in November 1991, the Evil E.P. possesses more elements of actual metal, compared to the later works issued under this name. However, it would be equally appropriate to label this as some sort of ambient effort, long before the likes of Burzum or Beherit wandered into such territory. Whatever tag one may attach to this, the title of the album remains just as accurate.

What one can expect with Evil is a horrific descent into the darkest shadows, where no light survives. The absolutely hellish sounds have very little structure, which better enables listeners to get lost in thought. In a sense, the lack of arrangement serves to carry you off into the deepest nightmare imaginable, and you only realize it once it is already too late. Demonic voices call to you, from all sides, summoning you forth. The guitar riffs are very slow and doom-like, with a murky tone that adds to the atmosphere of torment. Keyboards come and go, sounding like something from an old Italian horror film. Everything about this is incredibly unsettling, if experienced in the right way. Much like the music, the vocals have absolutely no recognizable pattern; rather, the voices are simply one more element that adds to the overall effect. The two tracks, here, only amount to about ten minutes and yet that is all the time necessary for one to suffer an eternity of torture.

For one to be introduced to this now, two decades after its initial release, may be less impressive than in 1991. However, this was certainly the most evil and hellish thing to emerge from Sweden during this time period and should be heard for historical value, if nothing else. Still, it is quite likely that, if you listen to this in total darkness and solitude, you will feel the overwhelming horror that was intended. 
(27 Apr. 2012)


Obscuritatem Advoco Amplectére Me is the first full-length from Sweden's Abruptum, consisting of two tracks that clock in at nearly half an hour, each. Released in March 1993, by Deathlike Silence Productions, this album is the type that elicits one of two possible responses; either it is embraced for what it is, or it is utterly despised for what it isn't. What this is not, is a conventional metal album. As a matter of fact, this wouldn't be considered conventional in any sense. It's not a collection of songs dealing with similar themes, working together to form a cohesive whole. The two tracks can hardly be called songs, at all. To describe this as some form of dark ambient isn't too far off, as the sole purpose of this music is to create a hellish atmosphere. Sounds of misery and self-mutilation are heard on this album. This is the audio representation of the depths of human depravity. Musically speaking, this is the miserable bastard child of Hellhammer's "Triumph of Death".

There's no real production to speak of, as the songs are best labeled as improvised noise. One has to wonder whether or not any of this was planned before entering the studio, or if it's simply the result of some dark ritual that was captured on tape. There's not much here that will really catch your ear; no melodies to stick in your skull and have you coming back for more. This is purely mood music, in the darkest sense. These twisted and nightmarish sounds take the listener deep into the bowels of Hell, as sounds of suffering and torment fill your ears. The effect is best when you are in complete solitude, experiencing this in the nocturnal hours.

Vocals are nothing more than demented and tortured howls and shrieks, as well as some painful moaning. The question regarding whether or not there are actual lyrics here is up for debate. Again, everything sounds quite improvised. If there is an overall structure to these two pieces, I haven't yet discovered it. Due to the length, I've only listened to this recording about a dozen times in the past few years. Whenever I need an Abruptum fix, I'm much more likely to go after the Evil E.P.

All in all, there's not a lot to say about this. It's one of those things that you really must hear for yourself to fully grasp. Some people find this completely worthless, yet I think the disappointment stems from the record simply not meeting some unfair expectations. Or the cynics could simply be total losers. Either way, if you are open to something rather unconventional and you're seeking an abysmal atmosphere, this is worth 50 minutes of your time. This is the closest I've heard to chaos being caught on tape. Just keep the weapons away while listening; once drawn into the bleak audio realm, it's quite likely you'll find yourself carving into your flesh and bathing in your own blood...
(15 Nov. 2009)

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