Black Abyss - _Land of Darkness_
(B.O. Records, 2000)
by: Alvin Wee (6 out of 10)
Considering their Teutonic origins, it doesn't take much to predict what debutants Black Abyss present on _Land of Darkness_. Going for a darker image than most of their fellow countrymen, this five-piece deliver a somewhat mediocre slab of Teutonic speed-power with a less-than-epic feel (in comparison to Freedom Call, At Vance et al). A highly promising opener seems to bode well for the remaining tracks, with a typically catchy group chorus kicking things off. Like compatriots Custard, singer Oliver Hornung handles his vocal duties amply enough, but in a somewhat low register that doesn't quite achieve the same effect as the usual brand of high-pitched singing. It is perhaps this aspect which casts the entire album in a less than favorable light, lending the songs a rather lacklustre feel. Little to complain about the music, a blend of Primal Fear and aforementioned Custard (the similarities are too many to ignore), a mixture I've never been extremely keen on. Things take a definite downturn after four tracks, the only relatively pleasant surprise being a pedestrian cover of "The Trooper" near the end. Even the title track closing out the album falls short of its promising intro, the nicely penned chorus being the only highlight of the track. With new vocalist and a sharper mix, Black Abyss are capable of so much more, and it hurts to see this album go to waste. As it is, Black Abyss has received excellent response from their homeland, and fans of Primal Fear -- not me -- will enjoy this solid piece of metal. Easily obtained in Europe; U.S. readers might try import mailorders.

(article published 10/1/2001)

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