|"Nothing is True, Everything is Permissible!" Thus spake Hassan I Sabba centuries ago from high in his mountain fortress at Alamout. Some consider this an axiom for living; evidently the gents in Ohio's Abdullah do, since they've reprinted the quote in the superb new split with Argentina's evil champions of doom, Dragonauta. In fact, one might view Hassan's quote as applicable to both groups, since both started off life as traditional doom groups, gradually throwing in more and more musical ingredients, viewing nothing as sacred and everything of interest as permissible.|
Yep, it's become hard to predict exactly where Abdullah will go next, though they always respect their old school doom roots. Its been three years since their last official release, so those of us who've followed them since 2000's great 'Snake Lore' demo have been gritting our teeth with impatience. No worries, 'cause this split is some of their best work yet, with songs of melody and power that aggressively wed 'Sabbathian doom with an ever-expanding NWOBHM influence and more than a dash of hardcore. Past demos have prepared listeners for this, but not for the maturity and beauty - yes, I said beauty! - of the execution. This is simply great songwriting and even better ensemble playing, running the gamut of musical influences from Trouble, 'Maiden, and Witchfinder General to Hidden Hand, Place of Skulls, and Budgie. And call me crazy, but the vocal chorus on 'Brightest Day' reminds me of late Celestial Season, a now-defunct Dutch band of whom Abdullah may well never have heard. The rhythm section is tight and in the pocket, the guitars are keg-smooth with excellent leads interspersed, and the vocals are clean, versatile and emotive. The only bump in the road would be the hardcore-influenced 'Killing for Culture', which is more of a matter of personal preference than anything else. Abdullah exalts the spirit!
Dragonauta, on the other hand, plumb the depths of evil, morphing away from the prog/doom approach of their 'Luciferatu' disc and presenting us with more of a 'Sabbath-meets-Venom approach this time around. Not that the prog change-ups are gone, oh no. They've simply added more to their meaty stew, more bleeding flesh to tear into. Here's a baker's dozen of influences; no doubt you'll be able to name several dozen of your own: El Reloj, Vox Dei, Celtic Frost, Flied Egg, Hawkwind, 'Sabbath ('natch), Cosmic Dealer, Thee Frantics, Obsessed, Q65, Count Raven, Motorhead and La Pesada. Eschewing the English lyrics of previous efforts, Federico Wolman's vocals are all in Spanish, gargling blood and razors while exploring hideous occult depths in a virtual black metal style. Bien de machos! Indeed! The playing presents a melodic counterpoint; there really seems to be nothing this band of prodigal sons cannot play! They're that good. Is it doom? I'll say yes, though 'Sabbath purists will disagree. One thing's for sure; there's no violins and hand wringing. This is doom for carnivores! Don't neglect to listen to the last couple of songs, which are live versions of songs from 'Luciferatu'.
The Dias de Garage label has proven that they've got an eye for quality and plenty of love for the music. Show 'em some love of your own by picking up what will surely be one of the year's best discs.
1. Seven Doors
2. Grey Sky Faith
4. Brightest Day
5. Killing for Culture
6. With Guilt
7. Ramera del Diablo
8. Revolucion Luciferiana
9. Letargo Espiritual
10. Bruta Vu (Hijo del Diablo) (live Version)
11. Tomegapentagram (live Version)
Duration : Approx. 55 minutes
Visit the Abdullah bandpage.