Black metal maulers Abduction claw into spacey, vicious power on psyche-altering ‘Black Blood’

Black metal, the most prolific of the dark arts, has given us a lot of content, and as that has accumulated to alarming degrees, its impact has taken a bit of a hit. Because there is just so much to take in, and it’s impossible to hear it all, I fear there is a lot of great content out there few people ever will have the chance to absorb. We need to grab onto that stuff while we can.

So, today we visit with UK black metal force Abduction, long the brainchild of vocalist/multi-instrumentalist A|V, that presents us with a devastating fourth record “Black Blood.” By the way, fun fact: Billy Jack Haynes once played a short-lived character Black Blood in WCW that pales in comparison to this beast of a project. I mentioned black metal being flooded with bands and music in a roundabout way, and that’s because it’s often hard to find the true gems, and Abduction certainly is one of those. This record is a miasmal adventure that at times can lure in any earnest fan of the sub-genre but also intrigue those who want to drive straight into a nightmare that is impossible to navigate. That adds even more excitement to what A|V (he has assembled a live version of the band you see pictured, but I could not find a reliable lineup) is trying to accomplish. It’s immersive and exciting, something that scratches an itch that didn’t seem easily reached.

“Kernos Crown” opens the record and slowly catches fire, bubbling up as full force arrives and brings a full black metal explosion. Vicious howls storm as the guitars spiral, a strong surge making its presence felt and shaking you to your core. The vocals murmur as the pace swings back, blazing colors fill the sky, and the final burst of electricity fries your wiring. “Dismantling the Corpse of Demeter” starts with keys echoing and dissonance filling your senses, the growls slithering through thickening storms that grow more ominous. Dizzying darkness pounds away, the howls rupture your guts, and a final burst of speed makes your blood rush before everything succumbs to the fog. “Plutonian Gate” is the longest track on the record, running 11 minutes and starting in a pit of strangeness, clean calls and atmospheric guitars teaming up. The guitars slide as A|V howls, “No journey without fire,” smearing disorienting dreams with raw reality. Calm lets you catch your breath, but then the playing blasts again, strange warbles stagger, and a final ripple of punishment brings this epic to a stunning end.

“Lightless at the Grand Conjunction” enters amid mesmerizing guitars and desperate howls, the gushing atmosphere becoming an even bigger factor as the playing takes a turn for the strange. Slurry and drunken melodies stagger with blurry vision, and then spacious playing explodes, daring fury catches fire, and the final gasps spread among the stars. “A Psylacybic Death” leans in and lets the ambiance develop before burly power caves in chests, and suddenly we’re in full mauling mode. Weird moans poke as the playing gets more involved, rapsy sung howls sting, and a final push sends a rush of blood barreling toward your brain. Closer “In Exaltation of the Supreme Being” unloads with crushing black metal and chanted clean vocals that feel ghostly and strange. It’s not long before the darkness swallows everything, the cloud cover increases and chills the earth, and the guitars scuffle as wild shrieks devastate. A slow calm takes hold as the smoke dissipates, piano drips, and the last gasp of horror disappears into the earth’s crust.

Abduction find a masterful way to play games with your psyche on “Black Blood,” a record that can be disorienting one second, bludgeoning your psyche with power the next. Black metal clearly has been overserved to us as listeners, but sometimes bands like this one figure out ways to make it interesting, mysterious, and even scary. This is a record that is not easy to predict, and even on subsequent listens, the avenues you take seem to angle you in directions you still can’t anticipate.

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