Abstruse “Ivory Tower” (2010)

Vertiginous steps into a swiftly ascending labyrinth, turbulent staircases into the stargazer’s solemn tower fields. Unheard shapes floating synaesthetically among the corners of your eyes, deep blue and black. Clocks unwinding, tolling thirteen knell. Gothic decrepitude of synaptic misfires, jagged MIDIan bursts collapsing maddeningly, a sixteen bit laughter menacingly journeying down echoing corridors. ABSTRUSE are back.

Or is, I should say, as this Greek orchestra is now a one-man venture lead and consummated by the near-anagrammatical Substant. As before, shapeless and borderless; the attitude towards composition more cerebral than easily listenable fortunately intact. This self-released demo album has cleared away the pseudo-techDMness of the debut, opting for a more distanced, theatrical manner (not mannerism). There might be issues among listeners with delicate ears yearning for tidy, organic productions feasting in mainstream normativity. Like analogue drums and balanced output levels (the vocals and lead guitars are often in your face, perhaps too much at times). The percussion are not so much for keeping a steady beat (I think there is one or two of those for fans of order and rock traditions), as for accentuating the activity/placidity or the compositions as a whole.

The percussions are more orchestral than not, as this whole record is more orchestral than not, but think not of Hollywood film score bullcrap. Think the systematically cerebral compository techniques of 20th century art music Modernism, and you’re getting closer. Whole-tone and dodecaphonic scales (and self-constructed ones!) abound; even a clear-cut example of digital aleatorism – a piece of software created by Substant himself, connecting a media player to a MIDI interface, allowing any given video information to program sounds. Itself. John Cage, eat your heart out. Perhaps it is symptomatic that the least convincing track is the one with the greatest “hit potential” – discernible rhythms and structures, clearly defined choruses, et c. I prefer not. What ABSTRUSE offer is a new, or at least extremely rare, attitude towards the melding of metal and art music. Though some listeners may be hindered by the home-made production, I hope that more and more will realize what ABSTRUSE are doing, and if not enjoy it, at least take heed. When the “metal+orchestration” still equals the cheap and bland Hollywoodization of corporate “extreme” metal, ABSTRUSE creates a sorely needed counterpoint – not only figuratively speaking.



Release:  2010
Label:  N/a
Avantgenre:  Abstract Gothic Mystery
Duration:  36
Origin:  Hellas
Official site:  http://www.myspace.com/abstruseweb
Review online since:  16.11.2010 / 11:21:38


1. Thy Horror Embraced
2. Ghost Tower
3. Of Ivory
4. Escape!
5. Avid Saith
6. A Flying Messenger Thru Mist Part.I
7. A Flying Messenger Thru Mist Part.II
8. A Flying Messenger Thru Mist Part.III

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