"Wound Empire"

By Dr. Abner Mality

I first encountered Abstracter in 2012 and what a meeting that was. Their initial record "Tomb of Feathers" had only 3 songs, but each was a virtual album in itself and it hit with the impact of a tidal wave. Since then, I've eagerly been waiting their return.

"Wound Empire" is the follow-up and I must report my chief feeling is one of disappointment. This just does not move me the same way as "Tomb of Feathers", even though the musical style....moody, epic sludge...remains basically the same. The songs this time don't seem as dynamic and hard-hitting. They are gloomier and more "atmospheric", but not having the same impact. Worse, songs like "Cruciform" and "Glowing Wounds" dissolve into tedious, drawn out repetition, which was never a feeling I had from Abstracter's earlier work.

The album's best moments are contained in the first song "Lightless", which builds from utter simplicity to monolithic doom to finally a bulldozing final pace. It's a cool tune but still not equally anything from "Tomb of Feathers". Sonically, the band sounds fine, but I have to say the material just doesn't move me enough. It also doesn't help that even in just a couple of years, lots more bands in this vein have popped up.

Abstracter is far from hopeless, but "Wound Empire" seems to have gotten a bit of the sophomore slump.