Album Review: Abduction – Black Blood

Album Review: Abduction - Black Blood
Reviewed by Sam Jones

Abduction are continuing to make a name for themselves, but really this isn’t the right to address Abduction; not as “them” but rather as “him”, for Abduction is in fact a one-man black metal band fronted by A/V. This has been the case since Abduction’s inception in 2016, hailing from Derbyshire, England, from the firs Demo in the same year to the first studio record back in 2017 titled To Further Dreams Of Failure. My awareness of Abduction first came into being with the release of 2018’s A Crown Of Curses, an album that really impressed me and only continued to do so as it was followed up soon after by 2019’s All Pain As Penance. Now, another three years on, and following a slew of Singles, EPs and Splits, Abduction are looking to bring their own brand of black metal once more to the masses with Black Blood. Then again, with artwork the likes that Abduction were sporting this time round, there was hardly any chance I was going to give this a miss.

While Abduction are considered an act of black metal, I’ve often believed they’ve continued to incorporate additional elements of death metal into their songwriting. The general sound Abduction bring here is a piercing, visceral affair however that’s not to underplay the slab-like power they’re not afraid to bring to the table. There are various moments herein where the songwriting creeps ethereal and mysterious undertones through Abduction’s music but there are absolutely moments in a track or two, where the songwriting drops this aesthetic and we’re subjected to a much fuller sonic assault. I think it allows Abduction fans the best of both worlds; black metal fans know precisely what they’re getting but a death metal fanatic could also get their fix without effort if they were to tune in as well. That’s a dual-edged blade not many extreme metal acts can boast of and yet Abduction, a one-man act, can sport that accomplishment.

If there’s anything to be said regarding the atmosphere, it’s Abduction’s willingness to slow down the onslaught of what they’re performing. That’s not to say they employ a wide variety of atmospheric ploys because they really don’t, nor are we to say Abduction are suddenly employing a myriad of doom techniques to give their songwriting a sense of gradual pacing, because there isn’t. It ultimately comes down to Abduction’s ability to play with a pacing that doesn’t feel like we’re about to get left behind or are having to constantly keep up with their maniacal speed. We recognise the band play fast and that is their fullest intention, but it never feels like they’re going so fast that the album itself can be deemed a speedy affair; I was always alongside the songwriting as it was playing like some darkened companion. I was able to keep time with the songwriting and always understood the turns the music was going to take me. It meant I knew I wasn’t going to miss a thing and whatever Abduction had in store for me, I was confident I wasn’t going to miss it. The band immerse you fully by simply allowing the songwriting to relax a touch and let you keep up with the route it’d taking.

Album Review: Abduction – Black Blood

It’s worth mentioning that some of these tracks are pretty long e.g. “Plutonian Gate” is 11 minutes, and yet I never felt like that length warranted additional trepidation or worry owing to how extensive my attention would be tested for. It’s extra impressive when we consider the band’s effective absence of guitar solos throughout this record; there’s little to provide superlative levity or flair because doing so may have hindered the band’s capacity for what immersion they were able to bring to the table herein. I believe it boils down to Abduction’s innate ability for songwriting that never feels like it’s contained in one place. A track less than 6 minutes long can be in as many as 4 or 5 different places depending on where the riffs take us and how the songwriting manages to interweave entertaining transitions between each section. It’s one such reason why I personally rate Abduction favourably above a slew of other black metal artists. As mentioned prior, the songwriting can be rather visceral and piercing but it can otherworldly and cosmic one moment, before becoming blockier and slab-heavy the next. Just because you have an idea what Abduction may offer you with this record, doesn’t instinctually mean the band are going to follow along to your direct wishes. There are plenty of surprises and meandering twists they’re willing to throw into the fire.

It’s pretty interesting that, with the power Abduction are willing to hurl at us throughout Black Blood, the drums are pretty far back in the mix. It’s more than clear that Abduction considers the guitar work and vocal efforts the primary focus of the band’s sound however the drums don’t seem to crop up in our attention all that much, or at least not in any obvious manner. What is noticeable is how the drums will assume dramatically more purpose and presence within the songwriting when the music is being taken up a notch, “Plutonian Gate” is again the prime example as blast beats are thoroughly incorporated and utilised during the track’s vehement climax and yet throughout the rest of the song the drums never made much of an impact on me. I wouldn’t out this down to a lack of emphasis in the mix because it feels deliberate; the album doesn’t feel unbalanced as you’re listening to it because of this potential mixing choice. I’d argue therefore the drums have been given quite a rear position in order to maximise that immersion as, had the drums been as prominent as the riffs and vocals, there would have been a lot of strong elements being thrown at us without reprieve. It may not be desirable for every band to utilise such a mixing tactic but for what Abduction set out to do amidst their songwriting, it works.

In conclusion, Abduction continues once again demonstrating why they’re amongst the vanguards for British black metal. The fact that this is all done by one man is simply absurd; the level of talent you have to possess to not only crank out a record on your own but then have that record feel like a legitimate multi-person effort is incredible. I feel like Black Blood, more than any other release by Abduction thus far, truly showcases the far-reaching capabilities that A/V is able to pour into his work. It’s never just straight up black metal that traditional fans can become enamoured with; there are elements of death metal, ambient pieces, a combination of aggressive and serener pieces etc. There’s always something else being thrown in for everyone else to enjoy and share in on the Abduction experience. It’s this willingness to ensure diversity and a variety of techniques to keep this sound engaging and curious that gives Abduction a clear edge in the field of British black metal. A knockout success for sure, upon its upcoming release.

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