MetalBite Review by Tomek on 11/7/2017 5:50:53 PM
I’ve been getting a lot of interesting music to write about in my hands lately, and some of it comes from Spain. Absenta means absinthe in Spanish, and it is also the name of the band I’d like to introduce to you (if you don’t know it yet). They went through all the regular shizz in the beginning stage, including lineup changes and demo recordings and such, then to record an EP, and then to record their first album which was their attempt at melodic black metal. Not being too happy with that one, they decided to change their creative direction and make something different and more challenging. On their second full length they developed music that is depressive, avant-garde and at the same time progressive, with elements of rock and some post and groove but still menacingly black, harsh and cold. They called it Eel.
Black metal is the framework for the music Absenta creates. Such music is usually associated with aggression and speed and we have plenty of it on this record, but there is also much of slow, atmospheric brooding with beautiful but somber melodies to balance the album and make it captivating. They move through this approach effortlessly, going from wild black metal fury to atmospheric passages, from brutal heaviness to something that could almost be considered a groove, and doing it without losing a slightest bit of their unique dynamics and character. Absenta doesn’t want to stick to a single formula for even one song - which makes the album remarkable in its ever-changing structure. And then there are vocals. Ramon DR alternates his style between common-in-the-genre raspy screaming and abrasive croak, but there’s also some low growl and eerie spoken invocations. Switching between those styles makes the lyrics sound as if a possessed person was trying to tell a story and can certainly send shivers down your spine. With lyrics talking about environmental problems of decaying rivers and probable extinction of eel, every song is a tale about ongoing struggle of this peculiar fish to avoid being wiped out from the face of the planet. Everything that happens on this album musically and lyrically is constructed to bring this sinister, ungodly, disturbing feeling that saturates one’s mind with images of nature’s revenge against human selfishness.
Eel is a record that may take few listens to realize all that Absenta is trying to convey, but once discovered – it will be an album that will stay in your mind. It will embed itself deep into the unconscious and it will keep growing from there. It is dark, cold and slimy and may feel like it creeps around in your mind, slowly becoming the thing in the back of your head that you were always afraid to acknowledge. Make sure that you’re ready for it.
Rating: 8.5 out of 10