Reviewed: February 2021
Released: 2021, The Artisan Era
Reviewer: Svetlana Likhacheva
Technical death metal band Abiotic is back after their long 5 years hiatus, and they have something to say. New members definitely brought fresh views and ideas to their music, and now Abiotic are back, dangerous and hungry. Their brand new record, Ikigai, is a creation of passion, effort and immaculate skill – as well as a lot of really good collaborations.
The opening track, Natsukashii, actually sounds like an intro or an unfinished sketch – it’s shorter than a minute. It wasn’t really clear for me why the band didn’t combine it with the title track that comes next, but I’m not actually judging this choice. Anyway, if you listen to the record in order, you don’t really hear the difference. Honestly, I liked Natsukashii a lot – it’s a brilliant melodic piece, paying tribute to traditional Japanese melodies. It flows into Ikigai, providing an exciting twist of vibe because the title song is very energetic. I loved the sound and its dynamics throughout the track. Electric, savage guitar is another pleasure for the listener’s ears in Ikigai.
Covered the Cold Earth really impressed me with the vocals. The speaking voice with those uncanny effects combines with intense, inhuman vocals, and this adds to the creepy mood. The whole track gives a feeling of sullen menace and danger. I honestly thought that one would be my favourite, but then The Wrath kicked in. Abiotic absolutely nailed it here! Awesome intro, very powerful and dynamic rhythm combined with raging, savage vocals. The Wrath matches the title perfectly. It has such a dark and wild vibe… like a real fog of war.
Among songs made in collaborations, the most enjoyable for me were Souvenir of Skin (Feat. Trevor Strnad of The Black Dahlia Murder) and Grief Eater, Tear Drinker (Feat. Jonathan Carpenter ex-The Contortionist). They are both very dark and menacing, and instrumentals are written and performed pretty well. While listening to Grief Eater, Tear Drinker I literally couldn’t stop thinking about scavengers of some nasty sort – this much of a ghoulish vibe that track gives off. There’s a place for hope though – light and melodic outro of the song sounds like a chance for redemption.
And the last track, Gyokusai, becomes my #2 favourite after The Wrath. It has a truly monolithic sound, gloomy and heavy. The level of fierce impressed me a lot. In every aspect Gyokusai (which means honorable death) is the quintessence of everything in the album. It’s the peak and the catharsis. What a perfect ending song, I would say.
I would also say – check out Ikigai. The album will be released on Friday, February 12th, 2021, and you can pre-order it here.