Chuck Schuldiner Project

Friday, November 27, 2020

Haunted Cenotaph - Abyssal Menace

Oof - now this is a crusher. The death-doom of Abyssal Menace is a great way to introduce the Polish masters Haunted Cenotaph into the world. This is twisted and bleak music from a band who eagerly lean into the more tormented side of the genre. The band clearly worship old school 90s death metal and even ape the sort of demo basement production. While in many cases this might alienate listeners, for those of us in love with bands like Treblinka, Morbid and Eternal Darkness it makes for a rare treat. Haunted Cenotaph understand that twisted aesthetic and pay it a fitting tribute.

With crushing guitars counterbalanced by pained shrieks, as on the title track, there is a real sense of pain that accompanies this offering. There is an utterly monstrous crush behind Abyssal Menace and it speaks to the bleak talents within the band. The almost apocalyptic assault that drives this record is stunning. It leaves listeners clawing for their sanity and reminded that death metal is indeed extreme music for extreme people. There are a lot of twisted little references here and there and the wholly atavistic approach to the music is a little bit terrifying. That's what makes the inherent torment of Abyssal Menace such a delight for spin after spin. 

Abyssal Menace might end up being too primitive for many listeners. It's definitely a bit of a strange listen and one that repeatedly challenges fans who aren't obsessed with the primitive power of the 90s stuff. However - for those of us who dig the darker, bleaker and oft forgotten side of death metal before there were big name producers and massive festival stages, then this is the perfect fit. Abyssal Menace are a one of a kind force and hearing as they tear apart skulls on this potent offering is a delight for those born in the underground. 

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