Abstract Spirit - _Horror Vacui_
(Solitude Productions, 2011)
by: Chaim Drishner (9 out of 10)
In a way, this album has received the most adequate of titles: "Horror Vacui" is a visual art term that translates to "fear of empty spaces", referring to the white spots or unpainted pieces of cloth or canvas the painter had forgotten to fill with color. An anxiety, a strict rule among visual artists, that one cannot leave a white surface; that all untouched areas on the painted medium must be covered with paint, scrolls, letters or whatever, so that -- god forbid! -- not a single squared centimeter will be left untreated.

_Horror Vacui_, the album, is full to the rim with musical color. Or the lack thereof. For _Horror Vacui_ is the night, or its sonic equivalent, and no matter how low you will turn down the volume on your headphones, the music of _Horror Vacui_ will linger on, its malevolent gentleness will prevail even in virtual silence, echoing its cancerous message even through a muted apparatus. Such is the force of the malignant sounds contained within _Horror Vacui_.

Abstract Spirit has undergone an awe inspiring musical evolution, from the rags of the band's mediocre debut album, through the better sophomore, to the riches of this amazing third full length. And indeed, this album is the band's peak, a summit that would be very hard to top.

However, _Horror Vacui_ may very well be the band's 'simplest' album: an album devoid of any musical juggling, sophistication or advancement; any pretense has been shed, any pomposity buried. All that is left are the simplest of tunes, so very slow, so very linear, yet so very exquisite with their stark forwardness, their crushing conviction and muted, tamed frenzy.

For what _Horror Vacui_ presents are not only the sounds, the sonic composition of the band's Stygian language of the damned, but also what you don't hear, what's underneath the sounds, growls, distortions and keyboards. It's the infinite wretchedness, the endless foul stench of failure and pain, it's centuries of fear from things real or imagined; but mostly it is the musical mirror of mankind. As in music so in life, _Horror Vacui_ only mimics, aurally, the bloody deeds of mankind. It's never the other way around: art only imitates life...

In case you haven't figured out yet, this is Funeral Doom, capitalized. It's the very essence of funeral doom, unadulterated, undiluted, pure, like a deadly chemical hallucinogenic easy to overdose on, but at the right amount is blows you away, buries you in a sea of morbid beauty, one black swell after the other.

Abstract Spirit presented us with a new dawn in funeral doom metal, a moment before it died, never to be resurrected again. Even I, a huge funeral doom aficionado, have given up ever encountering a new album in this beloved sub-genre that would be at least worthwhile. And now, my hopes have re-awakened, no less, with _Horror Vacui_; an enigmatic, dark, neoclassical, horrific sonic art of the highest caliber, manipulating the mind and blackening the spirit...

I cannot recommend this album enough.

"Oh, and to think I hesitated" (Hellraiser II)

Contact: http://www.myspace.com/abstract_spirit

(article published 30/9/2011)

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