Abysmal Grief has a name that just screams misery and crushing doom. Unsurprisingly, that’s exactly what you’re in for with their new full length, ‘Strange Rites of Evil’. A more traditional doom record that is drowning in gothic evil, Abysmal Grief bring terror from Italy’s darkest places.
Opener ‘Nomen omen’ is a stomping epic, churning doom riffs laden with organ and choral vocals. Abysmal Grief have really gone all out to envelop this record with a vintage horror soundtrack, as well as producing some of the best doom riffs this side of Electric Wizard. But while the Wizard bring their terror and crush through a haze of weed, Abysmal Grief engage with grandeur and gothic hijinks. The lumbering title track builds like an exorcism, vocals building with intensity and rasping growls accentuating the gloom.
‘Cemetary’ and ‘Radix Malorum’ rock like Reverend Bizarre, while ‘Child of Darkness’ writhes with black magic. But it is the vast closer, ‘Dressed in Black Cloaks’, that truly embodies the sweeping gothic doom that Abysmal Grief do so well. It begins with melancholic tones, guitar and keyboards mingling in a miserable melody. The song builds into this crawling doom masterpiece, each element highlighting the band’s strengths. Eerie organ, crushing guitar and howling roars create a dark but beautiful piece of music.
‘Strange Rites of Evil’ is a record that could have crawled straight out of a Hammer Horror movie, encompassing all of doom’s greatest tropes to become rather essential. Abysmal Grief take the gothic misery of My Dying Bride, inject some rumbling Electric Wizard riffs and layer on darkness. A perfect record for the coming dark, cold nights.