Abaddon magazine

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Saturday, May 21, 2022

Review: Absentation – Antimatter Rites

Label: Darzamadicus Records

Date: March 1st, 2020

I can understand why being a one-man band in Syria is something to expect. I cannot imagine the country being filled with long haired metal maniacs. However, as Mr. Salah Alghalayeeni moved to Germany there must be someone willing to perform alongside him in a technical death metal band. So, there is the possibility that he actually approached some people. I would again imagine that he showed this material to a drummer. A drummer who became horrified with the prospect of pounding the kit at million beats per minute. That’s probably where any chance of going for a full line-up went extinct.

On a more serious note, the mentioned fake speed of light behind the drum kit simply kills this album. Some modern tools for music creation are really abused here.

Now, when the beat goes into a realistic sphere, this, the fourth, full length album by Absentation is quite listenable. Overly technical side of death metal is nicely explored. Mr. Salah neatly utilizes his technical skills, without overusing them. The riffing on the record, unlike the drums, is not aimed at million notes per second. There is some decent creative effort to emphasize the overall tracks, instead of singular particles. Even the leads and solos go hand in hand with the notion that the song itself is the key to successfully impacting the listener. Still, they could be a whole lot catchier, as there are many of them and they seem to erase one another from the memory. Just as soon as the song ends.

By the way, I love how accentuated the bass guitar is. I guess it would be even more so if only those dreadful drums didn’t slaughter most of its chances.

Other than these unnatural speeds, the drums are programmed good enough to offer multitude of rhythm changes that will guide you through the album. Their sound is somewhat plastic, but not too much to spoil the album even more than it already did.

The best impression is left by the vocals. Strong and convincing in delivering the message, even if the message itself would take a bit more knowledge than I possess. Cosmology of the occult is the key theme for “Antimatter Rites” (yes, the title is a clear indicator). A lot of scientific and ritualistic references are used, so that one needs to either be knowledgeable in the subjects or look to explore the lyrics deeper. Which is a good idea while the hyper-speed drumming is ravaging the speakers. Much better than focusing on what is happening behind the said monstrosity.

All this being said, both Absentation and “Antimatter Rites” are clearly aimed at the connoisseurs. Of the genre and the theme explored on the record. If you’re not a die-hard fan of such music, you can easily avoid the album. It’s not even the matter of “exotic” background, as the band is located in Germany. Hence, all the elements that could win a couple of extra points are lost, leaving the band to the selected few.