Review: Theophagist – I am Abyss

Well, well, there’s a first for me: Theophagist is a death metal band hailing from Luxembourg, not exactly the metal capitol of the world. The band, consisting of vocalist Sven Schosseler, guitarists Jo Conter and Tiago Perdiz, bassist Ben Schreiner and drummer Michel Conter, was named in 2015, but the birth of the project in itself dates back to the second half of the first decade of this century. Plenty of time to grow, develop and compose I’d say. They have now finally decided to release their, one could say well overdue, debut album. It’s called I am Abyss and it spans a little over 43 minutes in which ten songs torture your speakers and eardrums.

Although the intro of opener Cannibal Preacher is actually relatively peaceful, considering their preferred musical genre, before long their true musical colors blast from your speakers. Their style is best described as a harshly variety of melodic death metal with its heavy riffing and ditto rhythm section combined with mean growls, with, at times, a diabolical touch. Quite fitting their rather atrabilious lyrical concept actually. Add to that a few of the more dark influences from black and thrash and you have Theophagist.

Next up is Burn that Witch, in which the overall speed is turned down a notch, along with the darkened atmosphere, showing the guys of Theophagist are capable of more than one trick. A nice touch are the screams of the witch actually being burned. Followed by this is the song with the most intriguing title of this album, perhaps even of all time: Recipe for Human Cake. If ever there would be a cooking show for metal fans, I can imagine this being the way the recipes would be presented. Roughly growled and accompanied by a heavy, powerfully set-up rhythm. They were considerate enough to actually include the recipe, although I doubt I’ll ever try to prepare it. Bon appetite…

It’s a good thing the next song, Awakening the…, a beautiful piece of, as I assume, cello music gives you some time to process al that, before once again resolving to nicely composed and executed death metal with a few subtle twists. First to go is Terrors from the Deep, another solid, heavy piece of death metal, which is succeeded by another five equally solid, strongly composed songs, making this an album that will undoubtedly please every single death metal fan around. Though there’s a few more or less subtle details to be found in each separate song, this album’s strong suits are its consistency and, positively spoken, sober nature. No pointless frolicking, no endless trips to different genres, no useless experiments. Though each of those can have its charm, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with sticking to what you’re good at, which is exactly what these guys do. Strong riffs, strong solo work, relentless drumming, sawing bass lines and growls that are either filthy, insane or simply deep and strong. That combined with strong compositions, a skilled execution and a solid production (independent, mind you) makes Theophagist’s debut I am Abyss a memorable one. If this is any indication for what the future might bring, I’m on board. Definitely.

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