Review Summary: One of symphonic black metal’s most legendary and well regarded albums for good reason.
If 1986 was the golden year for thrash metal, then 1997 was the very same for symphonic black metal. Classic albums such as Anthems To The Welkin At Dusk
, Enthrone Darkness Triumphant
, Goat Horns
, and this album all came out in this year. Despite this abundance of talent and creativity in the scene, In Abhorrence Dementia
manages to stand out from the other albums of the time for its powerful atmosphere and focus on the album as a cohesive whole rather than individual songs. After releasing their debut album Moonlight In Scorpio
, two piece Limbonic Art headed back to the studio less than a year later to work on in Abhorrence Dementia
resulting in one of symphonic black metal’s most timeless albums.
Veering away from the path of traditional black metal, unlike most black metal bands of the time, In Abhorrence Dementia
chooses not to have the guitars lead the album, but rather have synths do the heavy lifting. Being pushed to the forefront of the mix, it’s blatantly obvious the synths are designed to be the focal point of the album. This decision is what gives In Abhorrence Dementia
it’s legendary atmosphere. Dual keyboards are rarely found in metal, and even rarer are keyboards of this high caliber. The playing sounds as if a veteran was behind the composition, yet this was only keyboardist/lead guitarist/drum programmer Morfeus’s fourth year in Limbonic Art, or any recorded band in general. Oozing with an ethereal atmosphere and originality, the keyboard playing is what gives the music it’s unique sound..
The guitars, jointly played by Morfeus and lead vocalist Daemon, are simplistic for the most part. This is not necessarily a bad thing as they are mainly present to serve as backing music to the astounding keyboard playing. What they do add is a hazy feeling to the album in addition to blocking out external noise when listening to the album. Often times, these guitars vaguely mimic the keyboards and help support the music overall. The drum programming, on the other hand, is above average, especially when compared to the usual metal drum programming. Not only are the drum patterns above average, but the production on them is also better than most. The drums still sound artificial, but not to the extent many electronic kits do, causing them to enhance the music found on the album rather than hinder it.
Aided by Morfeus, Daemon’s vocals on In Abhorrence Dementia
are powerful, captivating, and performed with passion. While Daemon’s shrieks are one of the less original and interesting aspects of the album, they are still executed well and will satisfy any black metal fan. The most original thing that Daemon brings to the table are his screams. Throughout the album, he executes agonized screams that are absolutely blood-curdling that add a lot of character to the music. Providing backup is a variety of other vocal techniques such as operatic female vocals, pained screams, and baritone male vocals. These changes keep the album unpredictable and leave the listener constantly awaiting what might happen as each track progresses.
Despite the quality of the music, this album is not an easy listen. It demands your attention and focus, and provides those willing to listen with symphonic black metal perfected. It may take a few attempts at listening to fully appreciate the beauty that is In Abhorrence Dementia
but once you absorb the full magnificence contained in this album, it will be clear to see why it is held in such high regard. Any fan of symphonic black metal owes it to themselves to listen to this magnum opus at least once.