Thursday, 8 July 2010

Hateful Abandon - Famine (Or Into the Bellies of Worms)

Artist Hateful Abandon
Label Todestrieb
Year 2008
Genre(s) Black Metal, Post-Punk

A lot of bands are fleeing Black Metal like rats from a sinking ship. Indeed the old ideas of "kvlt" and "grim" have been hoisted. Bands like Alcest began to incorporate Shoegaze elements into their compositions (Though I think Ulver had most folk beat with the vocals on Bergtatt). There was an influx of bands mixing styles and dabbling with different combinations of genres. Amesoeurs gave a sampling of Post-Rock meets Black Metal on their debut EP, whilst Swedish band Lifelover put out an average debut that tried to meld Black Metal with Post-Punk (In the worst, cut n' paste fashion). As a long time fan of Post-Punk it was quite depressing to be presented with a thoughtless waste of composition that sounded more like a Joy Division pastiche than any serious artistic statement.

Hateful Abandon is a U.K. based band featuring Vintyr (Of Basilisk) and Swine (Of Swine et al). Whilst both aforementioned bands are amazing in their own right they don't really reflect what is offered up on Famine. Hateful Abandon, to use a cliche, is more than the sum of it's parts.

The most important point to raise in any review is that the music of Hateful Abandon is pretty far removed from the black metal that both members are known (Or are they?) for. Famine carries a strong dub influence ala early Public Image Ltd. Spacious production with heavy focus on the rhythm section. In both composition and delivery Famine harkens back to the time period between '78 and '84 when Post-Punk was still a rich, rewarding musical movement. This is not to say that the record is stagnant, it injects a far darker atmosphere as cold and grim as any "pure" Black Metal album. The tracks are peppered with harsher vocals which gel perfectly with the claustrophobic atmosphere created and lend the Black Metal edge to the album.

Vintyr's vocals are at times harsh and commanding and at others damaged and pleading. Running an emotional gambit but never sounding forced. Always gelling with the music. It's really hard to pin-point a similar sound, Famine races between Disintegration era Cure atmosphere, Joy Division bass lines (No, literally a Joy Division bass line), Joyless esq "Depressive Rock". It's a refreshing listen coming out of two (practically) dead genres. The most frequent similarities appear to be to the United States band Grinning Plowmen (Specifically their track Inquisition). Famine is, as a whole, a fantastic album. With a concrete vision and style that never falters.

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