Rising up from the Salt Lake stands Abiogene. This Utah based metal unit has been hard at work for over half a decade now, launching two separate full-length albums in that time. You may remember when we bolstered their first, self-titled record right here on The Circle Pit. Now, they’ve returned with quite the sequel…
Presenting “Chrysalis”! This functions as the band’s sophomore effort as they continue to experiment with a number of metallic stylings. This includes, but is not necessarily limited to, Progressive Metal, Tech Death, Black Metal, Djent, and Groove Metal. We had recently hailed them as metallic genre-benders for this very reason. But when they pour these bloodied results from the blender, how does it taste? Listen for yourself through the streams found below or continue reading to get an idea! It should also be noted that the entirety of “Chrysalis” is currently available for streaming and a “name your price” purchase via Bandcamp! Go get it!
In a strange way, the beginning of this album is a rebirth returning from the edge a flatline… all before large walls of groove and a relentless weight come crashing down on the listener. The title track kicks things off without any shortage of the heavy and a certain ruthless distortion. It displays a number of the key elements this album offers through its duration but, in reality, this is just the tip of the iceburg. One must fully submerge their ears in the frigid waters of “Chrysalis” to appreciate the greater picture here!
Proceedings pivot as the album progresses. For example, track #3 “Apostate” brings a huge twist to the album from its very beginning, kicking listeners in the chest with a truly wicked neo-classical type riff filtered through what feels like Technical Death Metal or the more extreme end of Melodic Death Metal. It’s certainly among the most eye buldging tracks present. That’s saying something because a number of these tracks are all about inducing exophthalmos!
Further examples… “Intromancer” seems to stand as a fan favorite on this album and, from listening, it’s not hard to see why. The track spares no time, crashing in with a tech heavy opening which transcends into very interesting, new levels through its duration. The tension, tech, and release takes ears for a ride here. “Satori” has very cool control over multiple musical motions, bringing several, kaleidoscopic layers into beautifully complex patterns. “Metempsychosis” begins with a lovely, dark string section that gradually rises with the tension of different sounds before the instrumental corps arrives in full. It’s equal parts haunting and heavy. This track also brings some of the coolest Tech Death moments on the record.
The more I listen to this album, the more I enjoy it! The only thing that seems to be strictly consistent about it is the abundance of enjoyable variety. It’s not that the material is random or strays too far from any given path – the band just prove to be capable of pulling off a great many approaches to extreme music. They really let their creativity show on “Chrysalis” while creating an thoroughly enjoyable experience. That’s probably this album’s most endearing trait.
Abiogene favorably reminds me of a number of other bands. Names like The Faceless, The Black Dahlia Murder, The Human Abstract, Animals As Leaders, TesseracT, and SikTh all floated through my mind at different points while listening. Most notably, however, the tonality of this band reminds me of “thall” contemporaries such as Vildhjarta, all while moving in a direction of its own. There’s a certain cunning darkness lurking behind every note played on this record. It takes that similar approach and throws it through new terrain such as Black Metal and Tech Death type segments to keep the meat of this project fresh. Despite all the twists and turns, they manage not to butcher it.
The vocals of Austin Criddle come through a number of mediums. They attack like a wildcat and burn the low end when it comes to harsh delivery. On the clean end, they can be dissonant or right on point. There’s not a single aspect of the music in which this band appears to fear experimentation. That’s admirable.
I’ve spent much of this time speaking on the instrumental efforts behind Abiogene. Now, it’s time to drop some names and give credit where it’s due. The combined talents of guitarists Zeke Lindgren & Billy Hansen, bassist Kyle Barlow, and drummer John Kirkpatrick really do create some extreme delights on this record. Their compositions are creative and mentally stimulating for a myriad of reasons as discussed throughout this review.
The production behind this album seems to be its weakest attribute. In some ways, the rawness can contribute to the greatness but the other part of me wishes for better mixes and more clarity to accentuate the glorious sounds channeling through this LP. Don’t get me wrong – it’s not bad by any stretch of the imagination. It just appears to be the weakest link here. The arrangements are still tight and the sound still comes through with a good bit of clarity.
There seems to be a decent amount of synthesizer, pad, and digital instrument used as supporting roles on this record. This approach can be hit or miss in my opinion. For example, parts of “Moxx” didn’t excite me much but “Metempsychosis” is just spot on. However, this really all lands in the ear of the beholder.
When it comes to the final line, this album is certainly worth experiencing for the merits of its creativity, variety, and all out heaviness. This is a solid, modern metal record that I could see a number of different metalheads enjoying for a number of different reasons. There’s a lot of talent here and it should be quite interesting to see how this band progresses moving forward – lots and lots of potential! However, in the meantime, there must be a rating for the current effort and that rating will be an 8.5 on this day! Well deserved for this quality effort!
Once again, you can give a listen to “Chrysalis” in its entirety through the streaming links provided up above. The whole package is currently available for a “name your price” download over on the band’s official Bandcamp page! One may also follow along with their dealings through resources such as Facebook and Instagram. Show some support if you enjoy what these musicians are up to!