Greek maulers Abyssus destroy in honor of deadly metal roots on smashing, fun ‘Death Revival’

It’s great and all when you can channel your rage and bask in heavy metal to help release that shit so it isn’t welling up inside you like some kind of poison. It’s just as refreshing when the artists themselves can find other outlets and not just pour death and horrific intent on top of you. Heavy metal also can be fun and act as hero worship, which I hope the genre’s creative forces never forget.

Jumping headlong into “Death Revival,” the second record from Greek beasts Abyssus, made me go back in time to when I discovered the heavier sounds in which I indulge and when that love formed. It’s not that these guys don’t get nasty and deliver hellacious fury on these seven tracks, but you never leave the thing feeling miserable. The band—vocalist Konstantinos Analytis, guitarists Panos Gkourmpaliotis and Chris Liakos, bassist Konstantinos Ragiadakos, drummer Jan Westermann—drives back into that metal petri dish in the formative 1980s and ’90s when these sounds were just germs of ideas that hadn’t yet fanned into the unstoppable force they are today. This album honors those who came before Abyssus so this band could even be possible, and the vicious, scathing scars they leave behind stand as a reminder to the listener.

“Metal of Death” delivers a thunderous open and another anthem about the power of metal, this time that of the death variety. I’m not sure if they intended this to be fun, but it is? The playing is bruising and nasty, the track has as much thrash incorporated as it does death, and it comes to a nasty, smashing finish. “The Ten Commandments” unloads and barrels at you with raspy wails and guitars increasing the intensity, later hitting a sweltering groove that will be violent live. The track steamrolls as everything gets uglier, ending by landing windmill punches. “Uncertain Future” has cool riffs and a speedy assault, bringing you into the face of danger. This track has a simple chorus, which most of their songs do, to their benefit. Things ramp up as the track reaches its finish, ending in a solar flare.

“The Beast Within” tears through with strong riffs and corrosive vocals, leading into yet another strong, basic chorus. Some gothy keys melt as playing sharpens and trucks, blasting down walls. “Genocide” starts with Middle Eastern-style strings adding some unexpected ambiance, and then the devastation arrives, thrashing its way toward you. The growls lacerate as the pressure builds, spreading fire and melody that have ill intentions. “The Witch” blisters, as Analytis vows, “Now you are on your way, this is the final day.” The chorus will be easy to howl back, the riffs multiply, and the cut ends with bricks tumbling on you. “When Wolves Are Out to Hunt” closes things, dawning with an ominous intro before things slowly open, mauling and drilling. Fittingly, the chorus is simple, a mere callback of the title, though it certainly jars. Later on, the playing envelopes you with power as jolts charge, leaving you feeling like you’ve had the top layer of your skin scorched.

Abyssus certainly have their hearts set in the late ’80s and early ’90s death and thrash, and “Death Revival” pays violent tribute to that era that was so rich with fresh acts making sounds no one had heard before. This band isn’t just a throwback as they also pack some of their own venom into this album, proving they’ve learned from the best and have taken up the mantle. I got a lot out of this because it took me back to my own formation with Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, Death, Possessed, and others, adding more fuel to a flame that’ll never be extinguished.  

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