Abominant - Onward to Annihilation [Deathgasm - 2013]Death metal veterans Abominant are back with their tenth full length release. Celebrating their twentieth year with Onward to Annihilation, this Kentucky foursome shows no signs of slowing down any time soon. You know a band is serious about their output and commitment to the craft when they get tighter and heavier with time. Some bands are content to rest on their laurels and do as little as they can to keep the wheels from falling off. As Onward to Annihilation shows, Abominant is firmly in the former category.
"We Are Coming" starts off the album with goofy, "evil" voices, but thankfully, they are quickly abandoned for some solid death metal. The song switches tempos quite a bit, but is generally mid-paced. There is a comforting buzzsawing along with heavy, clean riffs. There are many elements to their sound that remind me of Morbid Angel, especially the riff under the solo (very "Chapel of Ghouls"). This influence makes perfect sense, though, as Abominant was formed while Morbid Angel and American Death Metal were hitting a fever pitch. "Legions of Hell" closes the album and takes a different, but familiar approach. Although clocking in at nearly seven minutes, "Legions" keeps the listener involved by switching between fast, heavy death and slow, melodic death. It really brings me back to my youth, and is the track on the album that best shows off Abominant's skill. The sad, contemplative bass line in the final third is such a nice surprise. The death metal attack that blasts between the first and final tracks is skillfully done, but nothing groundbreaking. However, Abominant throws us a curve in "Hold Your Ground." This thrash attack is perfectly fitting for the thrash resurgence that has been happening over the past seven or eight years. The vocals are changed to fit the tune. They would easily be too much for me on a whole album, but they're so great on this one track. It's fun, fast, and awesome.
With one exception, Onward to Annihilation is a tight, albeit standard, death metal album. The drums sound nice and aren't too high in the mix, as modern death producers are wont to do. The vocals sometimes are a battle with a low and brutal voice along with a higher, slimy, more black metal vocal. The solos on the album are of decent length, which is good because they're well done and well thought out. I attribute this to Abominant's long career and the maturity that has permeated into their music. Shred for the sake of shred is fun, but not fulfilling. I would recommend this to fans of early/mid 90's death metal. It's not going to replace any favorites in your collection, but it is very solid and won't disappoint.Paul Casey