Released: 2008, Self-released
This five piece band from Astoria, New York plays an eclectic mix of death, black and thrash metal that draws as much musical influence from The Doors and Black Sabbath as Immortal, via Emperor and Deicide and Testament. The result is their EP, ABIGAIL which features four original tracks from this intrepid young band.
The first thing you notice is the production – organic and full of dynamics, harking back to the heyday of 70s and 80s when drums and amps were mic-ed up and recorded. Sure, the vocals lack a bit of punch and the bass drums sound rather sloppy and rumbly, but the price is worth paying for a production that forgoes compressing the hell out of everything. The inconsistencies in the drum sounds are complemented by the guitars and (audible) bass, making for a refreshing and gripping listen.
The second thing you notice are the vocals. Singer Stolas Trephinator mixes up tortured gurgles and screams with death roars to great effect, and the fact that I’m reminded of Schmier, Zetro Souza, Abbath and Glen Benton can only be a good thing. And it’s well worth you to taking the time to read their twisted lyrics, seeing as how ABIGAIL was inspired by the true story of Abigail Taylor (I won’t spoil it for you here but you can look it up on Wikipedia). The lyrics could do with a less heavy touch, as subtlety is clearly NOT what this band is going for.
The way this album sounds might put some people off, as modern-day, crystal clear and smooth production is ditched in favour of a rawer, less polished presentation. This rings especially true for the drumming which tends to be felt rather than heard, but together with the jagged, doom-ish riffing and the black/death vocals, ABIGAIL is a great debut effort. With the inevitable improvement on later albums in the lyrics department as the band matures, Flaming Tusk will be one to keep an eye out for.