Iceland may not be the most booming location when it comes to metal bands, but when one crops up, it's usually something worth taking note of for fans of the black and death metal styles. Here we find the four-piece known as Abominor, a group in the former of those tags (one of which makes up a good chunk of the countries metal heritage, mind you) that came to be in early 2008. However, the group wouldn't unleash their first demo, Source of Chaos, until 2010. It's been about five years of studio silence, finding the group battling the live performance landscapes, all the while working on their follow-up recording Opus: Decay, a two song mini-album that was recorded, mixed, and mastered at Studio Emissary. It was also picked up for release up by the underground legionaries Invictus Productions. But is it something worth checking out, or is it more of a pretentious offering than something worth any true merit?

While not quite as cold as one might hope, the expansive aural landscapes are as precise as they are extensive. Opus: Decay lasts well past twenty minutes, strewn across two tracks that carry the signature venom of the black metal genre, while hammering away with a bulky death metal domination that is more of an undertone to the ruthlessness presented. The guitars mix together some blunt and sharpened chords keen on technicality and fairly complex timing signatures once the ambient segments have passed, while the bass heavy presence roars in the background, adding a disgusting or ominous presence as needed. The drums are also pristine, though pushed back in the mix just a bit, with the well ranged/layered vocals standing somewhat closer, acting as a whirlwind of intimidation between heavily echoed rasps and growling, the latter more so a backing force than at the forefront.

What this emits is an interesting display of Icelandic metal fury and atmospheres common to the regions signature sound. "474" introduces a barren landscape that stands somewhat dry and deserted, all before a slow build of eeriness by ninety seconds in. The catchy early second-wave black metal grooves become depressing, taking their time before shifting between it and unleashing a high octane assault of brutality full of complex chords and unrepentant melancholy that is as vile as the pulsating bass notes can make the slow, churning riffs starting just before nine minutes in. It's a stark contrast to "Opus Decay", which is almost the polar opposite of "474" as far as where the slow paced material is. This one wastes no time in assaulting you with one furious riff after another, sometimes taking on a stable death metal groove to the drum patterns, such as around the five minute mark, as well as having an eccentric undertone from time to time. However, this one also shifts between the two speeds a little more often, feeling like a natural continuation to the previous track in a far more standard manner that still manages to make good use of its just over nine minute lifespan.

Is Opus: Decay one of the more inspiring releases to come out of Iceland? Not quite, but it's still a quality recording none the less, which is all anyone familiar with releases from that territory expects. Rarely do you ever find a bad or bland effort in the bunch, and Abominor only further that expectation with their official debut. There's plenty of potential on display (which you can sample for free through the band's official Bandcamp account), and Opus: Decay stands as something that fans of the region or style will find peaking their interest, not to mention leave you curious as to what the band will be capable of further down the line. Let's just hope their next outing won't take another roughly five years to see the light of day.

Review originally posted at Apoch's Metal Review.