Monday, December 19, 2011

Abbey ov Thelema- A Fragment ov the Great Work(2011)

Abbey ov Thelema- A Fragment ov the Great Work

Sometimes, you hear something that leaves you at a loss for words. Maybe because it is so fucking awesome, you can't think of a word to express the level of awesome. Maybe it was so bad, you fear speaking because vomit may be released instead of words. And maybe you are speechless because you don't know what the hell you just listened to.

A Fragment ov the Great Work fits with the latter description.

Slovakia based Abbey ov Themelma are certainly shooting for something new and unique with A Fragment ov the Great Work. Black Metal is certainly part of the equation, but how much of it is a bit uncertain. The album makes heavy use of keyboards and synthesizers, which may not sound all that strange off the bat. Lots of bands Black Metal bands make heavy use of electronic instruments, and electronic music has always fit well within Black Metal. What makes A Fragment ov the Great Work is strange is that this is not a slow, atmospheric and noisy affair: this album is fast, melodic and not all that inaccessible. The synth moves fast and hard, while the keyboards move at a blistering pace. Sure, things slow down from time to time, but not all that often. Guitars also seem entirely optional: some songs feature barely any guitar work at all. About the only standard thing about this album is the two-pronged vocal attack, which alternates from a shriek to a guttural grunt, while occasionally clean vocals come into play.

Trying to find a way to describe this album has been the biggest hurdle for me, but I can no long deny what this album is: Blackend Techno. That might sound horrible, and before I heard this album I would have agreed with you. But A Fragment ov the Great Work is not terrible. In fact, it is pretty damn good. When this album works, it works incredibly well: "Unearthly Theophagia ov a Nonexistent Deity" starts off with a blistering, pulsating beat that combines synth and a drum machine to awesome effect, before a grooving, Medieval rhythm kicks in, which is more awesome than it might sound. The whole album has a cool Medieval vibe, which I normally hate but here works well. At times, Abbey of Thelema take a more traditional route, like on "The Hidden Wisdom & Clandestine Legacy ov the Black Arts," and that song also works: dissonant, complex and with an excellent drum machine sound, the song is a nice change of pace from the Techno-fueled insanity that much of the album unleashes.

It has taken me a long time to review this album, mostly because I had no idea how I wanted to tackle the bands sound. A Fragment ov the Great Work is certainly one of the most unique and original albums I have heard in a good long while, but the album also delivers where many experimental albums fail. And I have no doubt that when Blackend Techno takes over the Rave scene in a few years, we will have Abbey of Thelema to thank.

Rating: 8.5/10

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