Norwegian band LIMBONIC ART are one of the veteran players in the Norwegian metal scene, next year will mark their 25th anniversary as a matter of fact. A somewhat troubled past have lead the band to become a one man entity though, Vidar Jensen has been the sole member of the band for the past decade or thereabouts. “Spectre Abysm” was released in the summer of 2017 through UK label Candelight Records, and is the band’s 8th studio album.
I’m not all that well versed in the music described as black metal these days, but I do know enough about it to easily place Limbonic Art within this specific context. This is a “modern” black metal band, as seen in the context and as opposed to the bands described as black metal back in the 1980’s. Intense, hectic music, with a frantic feel and atmosphere as defining characteristics.
The vocals are dark, performed in a manner that is supposed to sound evil I guess. Growls, croaks and shouts, occasional passages of spoken words, a few instances of layered vocals too, but all of them with that twisted dark intonation one expects from a black metal band. This is backed by busy, buzzsawing guitars fluctuating in patterns, more often circular than not, creating more of a hard and firm sound than a heavy sound as such. The drums are frantic and perhaps a bit too one-dimensional with their machine gun and machine-like pounding presence, but they do create a primitive tension that helps maintain interest as these songs buzz by in a chainsaw meets light-saber kind of way.
Limbonic Art are crafty enough to implement tempo changes too, inserting slower passages and providing the occasional gentler touch here and there, relatively speaking obviously, and on the opening and concluding tracks a more Wagnerian atmosphere is added by the symphonic elements given more room to add depth to the arrangements of these compositions. These are present elsewhere too, but then in a much more subservient and subtle role, often giving the songs in between a more primal feeling one might say. A touch of church organ here and a chaotic voice and effects section there also details used on occasion to expand the canvas and amount of variation present. And while not all that successful for entertainment purposes, Requiem Sempiternam merits a mention too: I get the impression that this is, in fact, a classical symphonic inspired requiem as performed by a black metal band.
Just how much of an impact this album will have is one of those facts I’m uncertain of, as I’m not at all in touch with what has been happening in extreme metal for the past 25 years or so. I’d suggest that the greater majority of people who tend to enjoy the relatively speaking modern variety of black metal should enjoy this production. Some songs are more geared towards the symphonic aspects of the genre, others have more of a primitive feel, and some feature a slight orientation towards the darker aspects of sacral sounds too. If this unholy trinity sounds appealing, chances are that this is an album that will appeal.
My rating: 74/100
Demonic Resurrection, Ethereal Traveller, Omega Doom, Requiem Sempiternam, Triumph of Sacrilege, Disciplina Arcani, Through the Vast Profundity Obscure