Saturday, May 15, 2010

Abyssic Hate - Suicidal Emotions

Abyssic Hate - Suicidal Emotions
2001, No Colours Records

Sad to say, this is probably not the kind of music that will appeal to most people, and it is obvious that sole Abyssic Hate instrumentalist, composer, and performer Shane Rout has designed his musical expression (at least in this form) to give off, more than anything else, a freezing aura of solipsism, and a 'warding-off' atmosphere of solitude, desperation, or despair. Abyssic Hate, clearly, was started to give voice to his hatred of man. Much like Vikernes' early work with Burzum (I am thinking mainly of the first two albums), the melodies that are encased here within thick layers of raw distortion are themes that would never lend themselves to 'group' listening, i.e., they are meant to be communicated from one individual, the musician, to another - the listener, and the messages that are embalmed in these icy songs are best interpreted when one is alone, after a listening, and free to ponder their significance in a deathlike silence. As it is on the listener's side, so it must be on the composer's...I just can't imagine Shane explaining his ideas on black metal or playing these songs on a stereo in front of an audience, for example, or as a demonstration for others...no matter how strong they said their 'convictions' were or how much they begged to be tortured...

No, these melodies have been wrenched out of highly emotional moments and spun together to form a tapestry that I believe is both revealing and mystifying, much like the very personal or 'confessional' lyrics, which must have been written in order to exorcise dire demons, and which can either be read as a glimpse into specific times in a man's life, or as abstractions begging to be interpreted in the search for general communication. 'Revealing' - in that the lyrics and melodies are much more emotional, subjective, and personal than most bands, and 'mystifying' in that these songs do not ever really directly picture (for the reader) what they are trying to communicate...they don't spell out the source of (or primary inspiration for) their creation, for example, and they don't concretely refer to specific instances in time - the images are metaphors or descriptive symbols, and what they communicate is primarily emotional instead of being the telling of a story or the spreading of one distinct message. Rather, what we have here are isolated segments of deep pain, personal suffering, bled out in a recording studio...and the lyrics are the attempt on the part of the musician to bleed out on paper, using evocative language, what he couldn't exactly refer to or evoke using abstract music. In other words, depending on what you want to take away from this album and how squeamish you are when it comes to feeling empathy for an artist, these songs will either manifest themselves as personal snapshots of extreme emotional states, or generalized dark 'narratives' that seek to speak in a language of distress, appealing to you because you may or may not have experienced similar moments. Internal or external - will you choose to desensitize yourself to the power of these melodies, or will you seek empathy in their relation? How much of yourself will you bring to the listening? Again, much like Burzum, what you get out of listening to this music will depend, to a great degree, on what you bring into it...

'Suicidal Emotions' is a collection of four powerful songs spanning forty-nine minutes, with only one song - the third, 'Depression, Part II' - being under eleven minutes in length. As I hinted at above, what first struck me about these compositions was just the way they were recorded and the different levels of emphasis placed on the instruments. For example, the dominating instrument here is definitely the guitar - both the tone and sound of the guitar as well as the layering of different parts. The tone and sound? Excellent...waves upon waves of overdistorted rawness. The different parts, all blending into each other? Interesting, mainly in the way that contrasting riffing styles are used to create a stylistic whole...and the methods by which two distorted guitar signals (the loudest ones in the left and right channels, naturally) are used as a sort of 'screen' or 'mask' beneath which the main melodies seem to have free reign to play upon the listener's dreams or direct understanding. This creates almost a 'subliminal' effect, really, where one's ears have to pick through the layers of 'masking' distortion (metaphorical adjuncts of burial earth or a funeral fog) to adequately pierce into the heart of the music. Also, metaphorically again, this forces the listener to 'transcend' the prosaic forces in the music (the simplest repetitive melodies on the surface) in order to descend to where the real meaning of these songs lay hidden. This is just the way it sounds to me...I don't know exactly how this music was recorded.

Without a doubt my favorite song on this album would be the opener, the soothing (at least to me), head-drowning, and impressively dark 'Depression, Part I', which is a beautiful example of ambient/abstract/droning black metal guitarwork, and which features, for me, the most moving melodies on the entire record. This entire song is put together perfectly, and as it cycles through its different sections I am always impressed by its ability to project an atmosphere of isolation, misanthropy and...a forsaken melancholy. What's especially interesting is the creative ending guitar section starting at 10:03 and ending at 11:21 - this is basically just a minute of guitars, free from all restrictions, reaching out and stretching forth to harmonize with each other in a storm of distortion. Impressive. Many people, I am sure, would find this song disturbing (both its sound and its lyrics), but for me it is pure uninterrupted bliss...

This is officially Abyssic Hate's first album (there were a number of tapes released before this), and although it includes material from an earlier date in this band's progression and so doesn't exactly refer to what Shane may be doing now, it makes me look forward to hearing more of his music, and I wish him luck...I believe that this band, like so many other one-man bands in the history of black metal, really has something original to say and has invented an original method for doing so...let's hope that Abyssic Hate's future lives up to the promise of this initial outpouring. This record is highly recommended.