2/15/2008 - Review by: Al Kikuras
Terms that can be safely attached are dark, disgusting and disturbing
Abruptum. You either get it or you don't. Me, I get it. Abruptum is a band you very much have to be in the mood for and the kind of music that makes all those people who say, "That heavy metal crap is just noise" absolutely fucking right. Not that you can really classify Abruptum as heavy metal. Hell, you can't really classify them as much of anything when it comes to picking a genre, but terms that can be safely attached are dark, disgusting and disturbing. For the uninitiated, Abruptum are a cacophony of moaned and screamed vocals, sporadic percussion, droning guitars and various scary noises without much structure discernible to the human ear. Effective in setting a mood, great to crank out of the windows at Halloween to scare the hell out of the kids that come trick or treating. If you've heard the first two albums from Michael Ford's (of Black Funeral infamy) Darkness Enshroud, they are a pretty close point of reference, though it was Abruptum that really kicked this thing off.
Evil Genius is a collection of the Hexum Galaem Zelog and Satanist Tunes demos, as well as the Evil 7" EP. A promo copy of the Evil EP from my print 'zine days back in 1991 was my first introduction to Abruptum, a few years before some church burnings and a murder turned the underground (and world's) attention to to Norway, Sweden and all things black metal. I will never forget putting it on the first time, hearing the crack of the vinyl, then this abomination pouring forth from the speakers. First thing I did was check the RPMs to see if it was on 33 or 45. I realized since it was a 7" it probably should be on 45, but it really didn't seem to make much difference either way. But, hey, that's Abruptum. It's about mood. It is about upsetting people. It is about, as Euronymous said, "the essence of pure black evil." Whether you want to write Abruptum off as nothing but noise, or a gimmick band, the truth is there was nothing quite like this done before and nothing done quite this well since. If you are new to the project, I suggest starting with the albums Umbra Malitae Ambulabo, In Aeternum In Triumpho Tenebrarum or Vi Sonus Veris Nigrae. If they don't do it for you, steer clear of Evil Genius, but if you already appreciate Abruptum, the origins of this monster are good to hear (and I am happy to have Evil in a digital format).
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