Album review: Static Abyss – Labyrinth Of Veins

Death-doom duo Static Abyss conjure an enjoyably diabolical first album, Labyrinth Of Veins.

Album review: Static Abyss – Labyrinth Of Veins
Jordan Blum

As the co-founder of American death metal troupe Autopsy, drummer/vocalist Chris Reifert continually proves to be a master of the musical macabre. Of course, he’s also been involved in numerous other projects (such as Abscess and Death), so it’s not shocking that he started another one – Static Abyss – with Autopsy bassist Greg Wilkinson. Thankfully, the twosome totally deliver on their initial outing, Labyrinth Of Veins, crafting a ceaselessly engaging excursion into the best kinds of instrumental and vocal brutality.

According to Chris, the record “explore[s] the echoes of insanity manifested through human existence”. That sentiment is fully realised throughout, particularly on the title-track. Its purposefully sluggishly tempo, apocalyptic riffs, and guttural utterances ('Distorted visions of bleak hallucinations / Feed the yawning abyss of the dеad') encase listeners in hypnotically measured despair. Naturally, other inclusions – Nothing Left To Rot and Tectonic Graveyard, for example – capture a comparably slow yet sinisterly apocalyptic vibe.

Elsewhere, there’s additional adrenaline and dexterity to the performances. In particular, opener Feasting On Eyes ignites with feisty precision, showcasing dynamic percussion and multilayered screams before gradually subsiding into a gentler pace. Later, Clawing To The Top Of The Dead offers more hypnotically hellish changeups, just as Contort Until Death eventually settles into perhaps the strongest groove of them all amidst coating itself in superbly atmospheric distortion. Plus, at least a couple of songs (Mandatory Cannibalism and Jawbone Ritual) incorporate enough multipart complexity and depth to border on being progressive.

Labyrinth Of Veins is a rewardingly intense, vicious, and deceptively intricate debut from Static Abyss. It’s a testament to its creators' individual talents and combined chemistry that the LP is consistently enticing and striving. Indeed, the duo rival virtually everything else currently happening in death-doom.

Verdict: 4/5

For fans of: Autopsy, Obituary, Entombed, Deicide

Labyrinth Of Veins is released on April 22 via Peaceville

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