Review Summary: Furious-mature grind hardcore balanced with occasional moments of cohesive harmonies and dynamic shifts, leaving a lasting impression led by solid guitar and above par drum work.
Hailing from Columbia, Abacus’ first release proves to be a well composed-cohesive display of musical maturity. Hitting high marks of connective disseminations, standing different than many other grind-core fusion bands, Abacus tends to focus on musical dynamics with moments of raging fury and melodic mid tempos rather than unending chaos. This symmetry is the backbone to what makes this release successful and attributes well to positive prospects for enjoyable future releases. The opener “Expecting Blues” is a good introduction into what you would expect to hear throughout this EP. Starting off rather energetic, the listener is introduced with a few seconds of mid-complex power chords which is, within seconds, backed up by drum work that immediately tends to carry the tracks forward while creating high levels of amusement; yet, not in a “show-off’y” type of way. For instance, rather than sticking with a typical down beat pattern the drummer likes to mix it up with down beat ‘scatters’ and fills that serve as the rhythm rather than a typical ‘fill’ linked to a non-fill pattern. The interchange of drum and guitar work aims to form strong bonds of unity with each category, encouraging progression. The drums tend to push the guitars to their peak margin which allows the guitars to switch up into fitting tempo changes or progressive transitions, and the guitars always seem to deliver. In fact, over time with repeated listens, the transparency of how well the guitars and drums dance with each other shows how integral these enjoyable factors truly are. Every track tends to hold its own signature feel where moments of death metal leak through and even moments of sludge-doom are found on "Untitled" and “Liars Prosper”; which by the way are one of, if not the
heaviest tracks on this offering.
I especially appreciate the production on this release as it fits the artwork very well. The white and black shades of religious-blasphemed depictions are a good reflection of the grimy-crusty guitar tones you’ll experience. The constant prominent-tyrannical drum work associates well with the forthright message of ecclesiastical contempt, but as mentioned before, it's presented in a sophisticated manner. The mid-high vocals, which are more hardcore-like than any other, fit the music very well and sits in the balanced mix at average levels. At times I wish the vocals were a bit higher in the mix, elaborating on ‘average levels’, because at high volume levels you can hear every component well but the vocals lose their presence more and more the higher you go. This is not to say that the vocals were executed poorly, they just should be louder in the mix to drive that aggressive factor home.
Within the realms of grind-core, Abacus’ first offering sits well within expectations of this movement’s best works. And although this may be nothing new to the genre or necessarily innovative for that matter it is still a solid effort and is very enjoyable due to the well fitting production and balance of dynamics which gives good attention to variety and rapport. It’s easily one of the better releases I’ve heard from 2013 that just keeps me coming back for more. Man, those drums.