Abyss / Besna - split
Wolfmond Production
Melodic Black Metal
4 songs (29'05")
Release year: 2020
Reviewed by Alex

To name your band Abyss is quite ballsy and utterly unoriginal. There must be close to dozen bands from all countries and of all metal genres sharing this moniker. So to stand out from all others Abysses you have to create something memorable, otherwise you risk being totally lost in the crowd.

Germans Abyss from Bavaria chose melodic black/death metal as the vehicle to deliver their music. I wish to say that their art is something unheard of heretofore, but that would be a lie. Regardless of how familiar a pair of tracks from Abyss sounds on this split, familiarity doesn’t mean lack of quality in this case. Oscillating between atmospheric black metal, yet with powerful bottom end, and cold slicing riffs of Swedish black metal a la Naglfar, Abyss double bass and blast their way through, all the way to mid-way melody soaking on Odi Profanum Vulgus et Arceo. Bellowing shouts and vomitous shrieks dual vocals sound par for the course, and Odi Profanum Vulgus et Arceo is solid, if not spectacular. Din of Celestial Birds elevates the nasty and extreme factor in Abyss repertoire, lays the pummeling on thicker, and finds melody fleeting, although explores some spacey angles towards the end.

Slovakian Besna, on the other hand, charts a more distinct path on the split EP, and thus was my preferred listening, especially Cesta krvi, which is a highlight. Besna actually complements Abyss well, by bringing their individuality to the forefront. Waltzing in with 1-2-3 rhythmic steps, the band manages to capture that desperate and emotional Eastern European streak you can hear on Cult of Fire or Malokarpatan. Cesta krvi just tends to be even more melodic sweeping between melody and riffs, while culminating around 4.5 minutes with an absolute killer piece of music which will lift you off your feet. Single, throaty voice is a perfect tool to deliver emotions Besna packs in Cesta krvi and singing in native tongue, at least in part is another standout moment. Jazero, on the other hand, matches Abyss in intensity after its spacey opening. Guitar sound on Jazero is like fire bursting in spots thus making it very difficult to put out. The song is towering and overwhelming, quiet moments in it pretty rare, closing with tremolos which may feel almost monumental.

Nothing against Abyss, but my preference was with Besna, if it wasn’t clear earlier. Best of luck for bands walking their separate ways.

Killing Songs :
Cesta krvi
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