Review: “I Am Abyss” by Theophagist

Founded in 2015 by a group of friends, Bassist Ben Schreiner, Drummer Michel Conter, Vocalist Sven Schosseler alongside Guitarist duo Jo Conter and Tiago Perdiz joined forces to create Theophagist. The band symbolizes a reincarnation of a previous  project long believed dead and picking up where they left off a decade ago, they want to bring you finest Death Metal you’ve ever heard from Luxembourg. Their debut album “I Am Abyss” promises an infusion of elements of Thrash and Black Metal from a variety of influences and has been 4 years in the making…

From the opening eerie sinister bars of “Cannibal Preacher“, you’re awaiting the beast and when the Theophagist go all out for blood with a full throttle rhythmic aural battering that takes the best of Black Metal with a monstrous percussive performance from Michel Conter, you know that this is going to be an epic album. After an opener that rages with the same brooding sense as “The Valley” from Whitechapel, Theophagist continue the dynamic into “Burn That Witch“. Luxembourg is a land of both German and French speakers so the presence of some German vocals and lyrics in the fold makes a tasteful addition while Schosseler’s accented vocal reaches lows that touch the bottom of the Mariana trench. Barking rather than screaming, his delivery is that of a beast from those depths and stands up well to the clean and crisp drum sound. “Recipe for Human Cake” takes the grizzly gore filled lyrics up a notch with the tongue in cheek humor of body parts being tossed into a mixing bowl. As brutal as it is slick, you might find George “Corpsegrinder” Fisher very much into this. Let’s be clear. This is Death Metal and not Slam.

Awaken The…” is the dance macabre orchestral introduction to “Terrors from the Deep“, a moment of calm before a storm that builds with some sinister riffs before the double kicks and Death Metal growling comes over the horizon. The longest track on the album is very much the most epic of the tales and has that grand sense of darkness while laying down some impressive lead flourishes. From that epic grandeur to some staccato Groove Metal riffs to bring in “Epileptic Seizure” before it cuts away into some Death Metal riffs, the song is a lyrical depiction of someone who suffers from the Seizures with no trigger point found and always living on the knife edge. Bringing to mind Arch Enemy with it’s guitar work “R.I.S.E.” is the depiction of the cycle of life “We rise, we fall, we die in a rotting hole. Deny, ignore, become part of the whole“. Another epic track in the Death Metal sense, it avoids the humor of cannibalism and instead focuses mournfully on inner struggles that end with death.

If you’re a fan of Trivium then you may find yourself loving some of the guitar work on “I Am Abyss” and it becomes clear that both bands have some of the same inspirations that have helped to forge their respective sounds. The well constructed lyrics however have are a different thing entirely and “Adeptus Astartes” takes more of a Black Metal approach as each mortal becomes a weapon for a God like Emperor to send to an endless War. Having a second, higher pitched vocal to contrast against Schosseler’s voice of the harbinger of doom is a nice touch and one that maybe they will look to use again in future material. “Agony of Christ Upon the Cross” sees Schosseler take on the role of the cloaked figure of death himself, releasing the suffering to their grave. An epic solo lights this one up, accompanied by some brutal, skull crushing kit work that drives home the coffin nails. Reworking an older song in “Apocalypse” which has some groove laden riffs with the bloodthirsty call of the song title. Elongated roars are a throat shredding highlight and… we want more! [8/10]

Track listing

  1. Cannibal Preacher
  2. Burn That Witch
  3. Recipe for Human Cake
  4. Awaken The…
  5. Terrors from the Deep
  6. Epileptic Seizure
  7. R.I.S.E.
  8. Adeptus Astartes
  9. Agony of Christ Upon the Cross
  10. Apocalypse (Redux)

I Am Abyss” by Theophagist is out now and available over at bandcamp

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