Abandon are a band featuring Vintyr, known also for his work in the excellent primitive black metal formation Basilisk. Abandon is not a continuation of Basilisk, but rather a more atmospheric black metal project with many other influences in it. There are several moments where elements and melodies that could be borrowed from a shoegaze or post rock song fit into the equation very nicely. From what I hear the new Hateful Abandon release incorporates even more elements from these types of style into the release. Anyway, on towards the actual EP at hand. Never-Ending Black Torrent Of Death is five very bleak compositions, and is aptly named. The EP is consistently bleak and the atmosphere is always oppressive and dark.
The first track should probably be disregarded altogether, it is simply some vocals from Vintyr not saying anything distinguishable, sounding very manipulated, I wouldn't be surprised if there were several tracks of vocals over each other with some tracks playing backwards. The track is nothing special and become irritating after about half a minute, skip it and instead indulge in the far superior Cold Blessed. Cold Blessed is the best song on the EP, due to it's excellent use of a clean effects driven guitar line (heavily saturated in reverb and chorus-y effects). The sad melodic quality coupled with the almost industrial sound of the trudging distorted drum beat works very well. Vintyr's vocals are mixed a little low but they compliment the density of the overall sound of the EP.
After Cold Blessed the Black Torrent is a bit disappointing as it reverts to more standard black metal instrumentation and riffing. The riffing is not terrible and the song holds up alright on their own, but it is neither as good as the raw aggression of Basilisk, nor are they as intriguing as Cold Blessed. Mid-paced to slow black metal riffing, with very low vocal and drum presence. The mixing of the EP demands the guitars carry the release and on Black Torrent they do not really bring anything interesting to the table. Shackled makes up for this incorporating clean guitars, fast tremolo riffs, and some very uncomfortable harmonies. The change in pace throughout the song is a very welcome. During the tremolo sections the song reminds me of Paysage d'Hiver (especially the S/T album). The guitars dominate the mix, with the drums so low they are only felt and the vocals painfully distorted.
Glory of Disease is a slower song again more similar to Black Torrent. It features some lower and more menacing vocals from Vintyr which help the song along a lot, but it doesn't feature any elements that can really hold interest for it's 7 minutes. The basic chord progression of the song cannot carry the song even though the doom elements offer a lot of directions that could be explored by Vintyr.
The album definitely brings out some good ideas, especially songs like Cold Blessed that challenge the instrumentation of black metal by not relying on any heavily distorted guitar riffing to carry the song. The EP does little more than hint at these interesting incorporation of other genres into black metal, and I wish Vintyr had mixed his vocals higher since they are one of his biggest strengths. The EP is definitely worth hearing, assuming you're used to low production values and are looking for something with a very bleak and depressive atmosphere.