Album Review: Abhoria by Abhoria (Prosthetic Records)

Abhoria are a dystopian black metal trio, composed of members of Ashen Horde, Catheter and Vimana. They recently signed a deal with Prosthetic Records and are releasing their self titled debut on the 4th of February 2022.

Featuring members of Ashen Horde, Catheter and Vimana, Abhoria recorded the album remotely, with each member contributing their elements from afar. In fact, the band only met up – and played together – after the album had been recorded. The record was engineered, mixed and mastered by Shane Howard (Martriden, Helleborus) at Sawn & Quartered Studios.  Shane was able to capture the raw brutality of the band, but with a layer of slick, modern metal production. A final visual flourish came courtesy of the distinctive cover artwork by fan-favourite Adam Burke.

Abhoria is Vor on guitars, Walthrax on vocals and Koszmar on bass. Drums on the album were performed by Jaud.

Abhoria by Abhoria Band

Abhoria’s modern take on a classic genre relies less on traditional black metal tropes and leans toward capturing the bleak landscape of an unforgiving world in sonic form. Through their lyrical storytelling, the band explores the darkest corners of the human psyche across the album’s unrelenting eight tracks.

Guitarist and principal song writer Vor states:

“There’s not a lot of hope on this album; it examines desperate people struggling to survive in an unrelenting world, as well as those who would seek to take advantage of others’ hopelessness.”

Abhoria invite you to discard your preconceptions of the genre, and embrace a take on black metal that reflects the relentless bleakness of a world not far from our own. With 8 tracks and over 40 minutes of darkness to get stick into, we get underway with the opener False Idols. The darkness and bleak feeling pours through, blackened growls combine nicely with the repeating riff and intense drumming to convey the frustrations and anger the band clearly have. The riff is a banger and really feels weighty. With more of a blackened death sound, there are traditional moments but more as a nod, then an attempt to recreate a specific time in black metal. The first single, Mountebank, focuses on a con artist offering the promise of a better life for only a “small sacrifice…”. This track sees the band stretch their creativity further than the opener.

The opening riff is pure fire and fury with lead guitar lines that hypnotise. The switch in vocal tones to an even darker guttural growl is excellent and the drums absolutely rip. This is is brilliant – a writhing beast of black metal. The swaying riff offsets the furious drumming perfectly. Chuck in a desolate sounding solo that feels, weirdly, sad and lonely. Yep, I am sympathising with a guitar solo….Abhoria have a lot to offer, even just on this one track and the transition back into the higher (just) vocals and pick up in speed and intensity near the end would turn a live crowd feverish.

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The Thorn continues the onslaught of darkness and desperation with another fiery number. The track attacks almost relentlessly but Abhoria know what they are doing and seem to have perfected when to make slight tweaks to the song to prevent it feeling repetitive. Just when the weight and despair feels like it could become too much, the vocals switch slightly, a lead guitar fights it’s way into the mix and the whole song feels reenergised. Clever stuff, this and just try not to headbang to the outro to this song. That’s impossible.

Byzantine Promises comes next and sees the band switch things up. Still intensely heavy and aggressive, the vocal delivery has an almost core feel to them. Sitting on a bed of blackened rhythm, it really works. The “join us” section is awesome with a wicked mix of vocals and some really exciting guitarwork throughout the whole track which manages to somehow tread a line between utter chaos and catchy. This is seriously good.

Grave Expectations explores a mysterious benefactor who lures people in only to hunt them for game. No surprises for guessing that it’s another heavy number, chock full of aggression. Variety is important though and Abhoria have that nailed down as we head into a slower, groove like intro to get your slow headbang on to. The chorus sees the pace and intensity jump but it is that verse guitars that slay here, well, one of the many things that does. The angry vocals are utterly immense as well – on the whole album, not just this song but now is a as good a time as any to mention it again. Chuck in chaos sections where the drums and guitars let loose, a transition into a screaming solo – there is a lot on offer.

Unevangelized looks at a despondent group fighting back against those offering “salvation” through religion. While the band don’t really show off anything new on this track, they take all of the elements that came beforehand to hit us with a powerful number that is consistently intense and clever. Weaving different riffs together with aggressive drumming and thick bass lines, the music truly envelops you and makes sure you feel the weight of the songs story. Melodic guitars offer a little respite from the dark, but only for moments, followed by venomous vocals and an increase in speed and intensity to bring you quickly back to the horrors on display.

The penultimate track is called Hollow and is a simple enough track that still feels massive and is full of intensity and aggression. I love the quick tapping drums, especially in the middle. The raging riff has impact and is a nice blast of fury leading us into the final track, Sunless. It is also the longest song on the album at nearly 7 and a half minutes long. That excites me and is a real testament to the quality of this album that, at the end, heading into the longest track, I’m still excited for more.

Sunless is awesome. The extra length allows the band to expand even further, starting with a slower intro, the drums start building up and we embark on an atmospheric adventure that brings weighty heaviness in spades. The vocals are immense here taking on different forms at different sections. Deep and dark, growled and venomous and even a bit of clean singing, Abhoria know no boundaries. The drawn out, thick notes of the bass and guitars bed you into the song while the drums switch timing at will and add real depth. There is a lot on offer and again Abhoria impress with their ideas and variety on the album as a while but none more so than on this track. It’s phenomenal.

Abhoria have really delivered a banger here with a debut packed full of intensity and aggression. It’s black metal, but in their style, blending other elements and genres within the same wheelhouse (death, deathcore, blackened death etc…). Abhoria have captured feeling well and the whole album impresses on you emotionally as well with feelings of coldness, bleakness, despair and desolation washing over you. Obviously talented guys, Abhoria have a lot to offer and on this from, should be a name that everyone takes note of for the future. This is an immense debut.

Head to Bandcamp by following the link and grab yourself a copy of Abhoria – you would be foolish not to.

Abhoria Links

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Author

  • Brendan Fisher

    Owner/Editor/Writer/YouTuber - Heavy Metal and reading, two things I have always loved so they are the two areas you will find most of my reviews. Post apocalyptic is my jam and I always have a book on the go and have for decades now. From a metal perspective, age has softened my inadequacies and I now operate with an open mind, loving many bands from many sub genres but having a particular admiration for the UK underground scene. In my other time, when not focused on Dad duties and work, I try to support the craft beer movement by drinking as much of it as I can and you will also find me out on the streets, walking. I love walking, I love exploring new places and snapping nature photos as I go.

Abhoria by Abhoria (Prosthetic Records)

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