Seamlessly shifting between drone doom, death and back ,England’s Abyssal seemed to come out of nowhere with ‘Novit enim Dominus qui sunt eius’ as one of the most intriguing extreme metal releases that have graced this year already. Although the band itself remains shrouded in mystery, they were all too eager to share their thoughts on the music.
There is not much mentioned on who are the musicians behind Abyssal. That could be interpreted as a means to create an aura of mystery around the band ,which suits in this case actually, or it could just be that you want the music to speak for itself?
I have always been of the belief that the music should speak for itself. I find there are few things more off putting in an album of dark or extremely atmospheric music than a list of names or trivial lists of thanks.
The first release simply omitted contact information and names for this reason, however the rumour mills soon began to churn in response to this omission, which was quite confusing to me. As such, I foresee that all subsequent Abyssal albums will also omit such info. If this creates some aura or mysterious feel around the band, then so be it, but the intention is always to present album artwork which is as uncluttered by triviality as possible. If anyone wishes to find out the identities of Abyssal, the internet will facilitate this relatively easily.
The artwork is similarly abstract and vague yet very moody.
Yes, up until this point in time, both of the releases featured artwork by a Lithuanian artist called Kristina Gentvainyte who is a mutual friend of the band. Her photography and visual art is very appropriate as accompaniment to the music because of its haunting tone, but also in the way that it captures real world objects from a different perspective.
Originally this was very modestly self released in a very limited edition. Did you have a hard time finding a suitable label or did you want to keep things in your own hands?
The release was initially put out via the internet for free download simply because that was the most direct route to the listeners; there was never any attempt to involve a label. Too many bands plough their effort into releases which then sit shelved for months and years at a time while the search for a label proceeds. This is counterproductive and often leads to a loss of momentum.
For Abyssal, the independent route simply made more sense at the beginning. Once demand began to outweigh the ability for us to produce the handmade editions of the CD, it was then that the decision was made to simply offer the digital download and mark the CD editions as out of print.
Fortunately Profound Lore and Hellthrasher Records offered to re-issue the discs, meaning that a much more comfortable balance has been attained. It is hopefully the case now that future Abyssal releases will be issued on these labels in order to lighten the load.
“Novit…” has been rereleased now in a luxurious double LP gatefold version. Are you vinyl lovers yourselves?
I would not say I am a vinyl lover, but there is certainly an allure surrounding the essentially obsolete medium. The warmth of the analogue sound works well with our style, and the size of the gatefold allows a much more absorbing art layout to be produced. The only downside I can see is that for a double vinyl, there is quite a lot of getting up involved to change sides.
What I find most compelling about the record is how it merges the feeling of utter desolation of funeral doom, the mesmerising hypnotism of drone and the all out brutality of death metal. How would you describe Abyssal?
This is probably a better description that I could provide. It is always interesting to see the responses to the music and how others attempt to categorise it, as there have been many different genre tags fired our way. We are not particularly pernickety when it comes to genre titles, so I would argue to just describe the music in the way you see fit.
Do you already have new works planned as the album itself was already released a year ago and what can we expect?
The writing process is ongoing for the third album, and it is progressing arduously. The upcoming release will be somewhat of a departure from its predecessor, but it will still remain in the vein of Abyssal. The studio is looming on the horizon, but it would be reckless to predict a release date at this time.
Any chance you’re coming across the Channel any time soon to Belgium or don’t you see Abyssal as a unit that will perform much live?
There are a handful of more artisanal gigs lined up throughout the year. I envisage in the future as the newer line up settles in that one-off shows in Europe will begin to happen. There will certainly be no gigantic length tours for the foreseeable future, but we will take it as it comes.