December 11, 2013 | , | 4

Abominant, Onward to Annihilation

Abominant: Onward to Annihilation

Two years ago, Abominant released Where Demons Dwell, an album that brought a surly mix of Floridian and Swedish death metal. It was also the full-length — their ninth by the way — that first introduced me to the band. We really haven’t seen/heard each other since, but I was greatly looking forward to hearing what these Kentuckian heathens had up their sleeve for their next batch of mayhem. Well, Onward to Annihilation certainly brings the violence as expected, but also a few (interesting) curveballs.

Brave is the band, let alone a death metal band, that starts off an album with a five-plus minute long opener, but that’s just what these guys have done. “We Are Coming” begins with some unintelligible growls before deciding to get down to business by heaving mountains of machine-gunning drums and driving guitars at your cranium. It’s not all furious go go go, however, as Abominant are wise to temper the attack with plenty of tempo changes to keep you fully engaged for the remaining four or so minutes. It’s a solid song and a great start to the album. Weighing in at over seven minutes run-time, “Conquerors of Dust” is another well performed song with swampy textures and driving, swirling guitars. Despite it’s length, the song flows smoothly, never really meandering or losing it’s way. The guys have a singular focus with this one.

“Left to Rot” is a faithful Hypocrisy cover but with a more murky sound that fits the rest of Onward to Annihilation nicely. “BattleScarred” starts off innocently enough before diving head first into a fox hole piled high with rotting soldiers and the acrid smell of gunpowder in the air. It’s as violent as track as you’re going to hear on the album as it lurches and surges from frantic blasts to chugging riffs and back again. The title track carries the momentum flowing along though it slows things down a good bit, settling comfortably into a churning groove before coming to what has to be the most WTF display a band saying we’re gonna do whatever the Hell we want to do with this next one.

“Hold Your Ground” is completely unlike anything else on Onward to Annihilation. Where the majority of the music on the album is aggressive, buzzing and, well, death metal, this particular song is straight out of the NWOBHM. It’s got the fairly cleanly sung vocals (complete with falsetto hits) , thrashing guitars and rock-driven rhythms. It’s such a departure from the first five songs that I had to double (and triple) check the tracklisting. It’s a pretty solid and catchy song, but it really throws you for a loop here, especially in the middle of the album.

Abominant get back on track with the malevolent and densely layered “Beside the Dying Flame” before diving into the depths of blackened death metal with album closer “Legions of Hell.” This final track is undoubtedly the best on the albu. It’s captures a ferocity and urgency that, honestly, the rest of the album doesn’t quite full have. Rabid drums, ever-shifting rhythms and massive riffage carry you to the end of Onward to Annihilation with malevolent intentions. For their tenth studio album, Abominant continue do what they do best — deliver crushing death metal that straddles the present and the past with devastating effect.