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Review: Abiotic – Casuistry

It’s quite rare that I enjoy a band that has a change in vocalists. It bothers me because vocals are typically the first thing I listen to, since its the forefront of a lot of heavy metal music. I tend to automatically judge music by said vocal work, which is probably unfair since a lot of technical and interesting bands have screams and/or singing that makes me cringe at first listen.

This was the case when I first listened to Abiotic’s “Cast into the Depths”, their first single off of “Casuistry.” It wasn’t that Travis Bartosek’s screams were lousy; they were just different from the Abiotic I grew to admire with Ray Jimenez. Those piercing highs had such a cool, unreal sound to it that enticed me on every track.

So essentially, I didn’t bother listening to this new Abiotic for a while. That is, until I realized the full album was up on Spotify. Curiosity kicked in and I gave it another chance…

And I am so glad I listened again!

Abiotic reinvented themselves with this tech-death, progressive, and even thrashy sound for their sophomore album “Casuistry” and I highly recommend buying it on iTunes or their IndieMerchstore, or even streaming this excellent creation on Youtube or Spotify.

Every aspect of this album is so very well-done; production, instrumentation, even the album artwork is beyond wicked. The music has texture, the tone and distortion of the guitars  are distinctive and heavy, with a super fast and tight drum sound keeping the music in line. The songs are full of technical death metal excellence with a nice blend of chaos, headbang, and aliens that is certainly similar to the transformation Job for a Cowboy went through with “Sun Eater”. So let’s look at the highlights of this album.

The album starts off with “Believe the Unseen” and it sets the listener up for the rest of the album. Time changes, gritty and deep gutturals, technical and fast guitar solos, tight drum patterns, and an effortless yet hard-hitting breakdown are some of the prominent aspects of the song. It’s a real headbanger of a track and it highlights all of the great assets the band brings to the table on the whole album. However, the mood changes for songs like “Reanimated Destruction”, with crazy guitar riffing and elegant bass solos that sounds a lot more progressive than anything previously established by Abiotic. This song is full of ferocious and fast drum fills, melodic and smooth guitar solos, even some nice guitar chugs to get the head banging once again.

“Cast into the Depths” features John Gallagher of Dying Fetus in vocals, which is an interesting combination. The insanity of the instrumentals and the sludgy, dark and brutal sound of Dying Fetus makes for a unique listen on this album. The catchiness of “Violent Scriptures” ensues to please with more tight instrumentation with really sick guitar melodies that are extra eerie, progressive, and even a bit thrashy. At this point in the album, I really started to recognize Abiotic’s similarities with Wretched’s intense guitar work, Rings of Saturn’s “aliencore” sound, and Job for a Cowboy’s progressive and technical bass tones. Everything you could ever want in a technical death metal album!

Strangely timed “Nightmares of Your Conception” involves more slick bass solos and fast drumming, followed by the intense insanity of “The Absence of Purity”. This is where we see similar guitar harmonies as Wretched in the nicely developed solos. “Falling into Obscurity” involves rhythmic and speedy vocal patterns, demonstrating the full range and capability of Travis’s screams. Very heavy and very fun to listen to.

My favorite tune proceeds; the monstrous “Molecular Rematerialization” is lightning fast, featuring some of the best and hardest to play drum fills and patterns, heavy staccato guitar chugging, and even a couple of distinctive pig squeals throw me into a fit of uncontrollable headbanging. The bass is also prominent for the whole song and is featured in well-executed scale runs before reintroducing the chaotic guitar style prominent in all the songs. This excellently written song throws the listener to the end with “Drain. Deface. Abolish.” with stop-and-go synchronization between all the instruments that is really heavy and tight. The song rips all the way to the end and capitalizes on all the aspects of the music I grew to respect after listening to these songs.

If you’re into the insanity of awesome, slightly scary, and perhaps epic technical death metal, Abiotic is the way to go. Although it seems they cut out their previous deathcore sound, the evolution away from core is remarkably done and executed. After writing this review and listening to this album so much, I can say with confidence that I do not entirely miss their old sound since their new album is so pristine. My only complaints are that the drum mixing could be better (the kick drum is rather muffled) and the guitar soloing becomes excessive and redundant in some portions. Definitely minor flaws that certainly do not outshine the amazing features of “Casuistry”.  Give it a listen and be sure to see these guys at a show soon!

Rate: 8.75/10


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