Review by Chris Pratl on June 5, 2018.
As a general rule, the technical side of death metal tends to lull me more than excite me. I'm not big on bands like Nile as they simply don't do much in the way of entertaining me from a death metal point of view. I'm from the school that death metal should be this foggy, ethereal element hanging heavily over the listener's head like a dense, enigmatic cloud that burrows into the ears with all of the ease of a malfunctioning trip hammer on the slow speed. For my personal tastes, death metal today relies too heavily on making the guitars sound pinpoint perfect and triggered drums allowing for all of the grunt work. At best, it's disheartening; at worst, it's a musical disgrace that makes the genre feel ho hum.
All of this aside, there are rare exceptions to this personal rule of mine, and Alabama's Chaos Inception manages to combine both old and new elements into its sophomore release, The Abrogation. There is an air, a vibe if you will, surrounding this album that creates that aforementioned haze and is central to the death metal genre, instilling feelings of thick, abiding rage. I'm left with the obvious Hate Eternal and even Nile feelings in some of the riffs and arrangements, but there is nothing tame or rudimentary about Chaos Inception.
The first thing I notice is the presence of a bass! Yes, Virginia, there is a bass! Criminally undervalued in far too many a DM record, that familiar humming in my ears makes me even more prepared to take on the nearly 30-minutes before me. Just five minutes into the album and I'm completely entranced and properly violated in all the right areas of my brain. Vocally, you have your typical death metal growls but with a definitive flair for enunciation and a familiar subjugating presence, ala Peter of Vader's camp minus the 'barking' yell. Aside from intelligent time changes and this amazing 'sweeping' effect of some of the riffs, The Abrogation seems to find the very crevices of the brain and dig deep into each of them to assure longevity in the memory bank.
As for the overall production, it's thick, resonating, foreboding, encompassing, and any other adjective you think might fit well when an album just crushes you under its mighty weight and forces you into a cocoon of submission. Here we have a happy mixture of that dense production that makes Grave or Nihilist so revered and the faint crispness of modern technology that allows the fan and fellow musician to really enjoy the little nuances that either make or break a record from this beloved genre. There are so many different riffs and elements to these songs, which is also a rarity these days since most death metal releases tend to meld into one long track without much in the way of variation or style. A track like "Black Blood Vortex" with its violent vocals and tremendously evil riffing can still provide the same inner turmoil as "Ancient Ways Prevail," a much slower, albeit uglier track among these nine pieces of DM artistry.
When I started seeing recommendations as to how good this CD is from the gallery on my social media page, I was even more excited to pop it in at the first chance I got. So far I'm on my third listen and it gets stronger with every passing digestion. Alabama's on the map, kids, and Chaos Inception will hopefully be putting out more of the same here in the very near future. Credulity and style are still very much alive in The Abrogation.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10
(Originally written for www.metalpsalter.com)