Oh man, did I love Abyssal's Novit Enim Dominus Qui Sunt Eius. The secretive British blackened death metal band's second album (and first for Profound Lore) delivered a surreal, swirling mass of sound that I described as falling in some weird, warped chasm in between the cacophonic murk of bands like Portal, Impetuous Ritual, Antediluvian and Mitochondrion, and the hallucinatory, experimental quality of some of Blut Aus Nord's material. Well, we're still adrift in that same black sea of dissonant heaviness, but Abyssal's songwriting has evolved considerably since that previous album. Antikatastaseis sucked me into it's yawning black gulfs as soon as I hit play, the blasting violence of "I Am The Alpha And The Omega" swarming over the listener as a mass of brutal scattershot blast beats that break apart into that fractured Incantational undertow that is a hallmark of Abyssal's sound, the song lurching through some disorienting time signature changes and stuttering blast-attacks even as the churning atonal riffs drown in down tuned distortion and evolve into surprisingly affecting melody; the latter half of this opening track alone is one of the most intense pieces of death metal I've heard lately, shifting from a thunderous climax into a stunning vapor-trail of achingly beautiful gothic organ.
And from there it moves into the sound of tribal drums and monstrous chanting, but demented and delirious and possessed of a strange, almost industrial-tinged atmosphere, before abruptly exploding into a vicious atonal assault, crushing heaviness spiked with that dissonant guitar sound, weaving fast and erratic through that spluttering but crushing rhythmic chaos. And once again it finds its way into passages of soaring melodic power, a recurring theme throughout Antikatastaseis, the music moving through breathtaking widescreen melodic majesty, but also rife with moments where Abyssal's black churn downshifts into a titanic doom-laden riff, and it's pulverizing in its heaviness; but there's also a lot of space, places where that violent blasting pulls apart into intense minimalist drone and stretches of light-devouring, jet-black ambience, parts where it sounds more like Shinjuku Thief than death metal, and delicate melodies creep from the depths in the quietest moments, like the tinny music-box melody that haunts the middle of "Veil Of Transcendence", continuing to play even as the band roars back in with their bulldozing deathchurn and blasting, that tiny melody repeating eerily throughout the entire rest of the song in spite of the crazed sonic violence that surrounds it, until it finally synchs with another utterly triumphant riff to powerful effect. Plenty of contemporary death/black metal outfits incorporate abstract soundscapery in their work to varying success, but Abyssal's rumbling drones and warped black ambience seamlessly integrates with the contorted doom-laden heaviness, or the propulsive progginess of "Chrysalis", or the climactic wall of sound of "Delere Auctorem Rerum Ut Universum Infinitum Noscas" that starts off as an almost Penderecki-esque wash of terrifying dissonance but transforms into a brutal, segmented deathblast. A kind of epic, blackened prog-death steeped in existential horror and executed with exquisite craftsmanship, gleaming with moments of striking majesty, and capped off with awesome cover art that perfectly evokes the lightless oceanic gulfs traversed in Abyssal's music.