The Abyss - _Summon the Beast_
(Nuclear Blast, 1996)
by: Adam Wasylyk (6 out of 10)
_Summon The Beast_ is The Abyss' second album and is very easy to categorize: no frills, straight-forward black metal. The side-project of Peter Tagtgren (of Hypocrisy, but you already knew that, didn't you?), the eight songs on this are played at hyper speed nearly all the time stopping only long enough to spill forth a fast melodic riff or two. My problem (which is a big one) is that nearly every song starts out with blast beating and during most of the song it's that same speed, so after the album's done it's nearly impossible to tell which song was which. Songs like "Satan's Majestic Empire", "Damned", "Cursed", "Feasting the Remains of Heaven", and "The Arrival" all sound the same, each having drums and guitars set on kill, with nothing much else. No keyboards are present which is too bad because that would have made this record less bland and given it more variety. The vocals (done by Mikael Hedlund, Tagtgren did the drums/bass) are pretty good and don't get irritating like some black metal vocalists I've heard. Clocking in at just under 30 minutes, I liked _Summon the Beast_ for its uncompromising speed but I disliked it for its lack of variety and all-the-same-ness.

(article published 2/1/1997)

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