Abyssal Vacuum is the brainchild of one Sébastien Besson, an extraordinarily busy French musician handling all instrumentation in the Vacuum camp as well as guitar, bass, and vocals in several other insidious institutions like Dysylumn and Ominous Shrine. All other stakeholders aside, however, Besson handles his business with Abyssal Vacuum extraordinarily well on MMXVIII. Call it a flair for weaving dreadful climates – but the best way to explain it is, Besson gets the basics right.
It doesn’t sound like much of an accomplishment, and I don’t mean he makes sure the amps are plugged in, and the studio software is updated. The drumming gets the job done, astutely switching between double-bass hyperspeed blitzes to slower, pronounced transitions and splashes effectively avoiding the speed-on speed blur that traps so many other extreme metal artists. He’s got the Deathspell-style hell’s bells guitar howls properly layered – buzzing and ringing diabolically. But, as evidenced in “V,” reeling in the maelstrom to a single-guitar, slow-beat passage advances the high drama of these songs substantially. Despite the band’s short tenure, Abyssal Vacuum’s template of reverbed ebbs and flows, squalls and riffs, roars and bellows, and speed-shifting alacrity should be just what the doctor ordered for longtime fans of DsO or newcomers Esoctrilihum. In other words, this band is ready for prime time.
MMXVIII shows lots of promise with the percussion not quite the black hole of hate-filled violence of the aforementioned artists. My only real complaint is the cataloging of the music. The albums are roman numerals (I assume it’s the year the album was recorded), the songs are roman numerals (order of release?). While it probably makes perfect sense from a recording standpoint, it’s a little confusing to newcomers. Plus (and I would never be one to tell a band what name to choose, however…), there’s the obvious concern that the name will be confused with “Bissell Vacuum.” I guess that’s to figure out another day. Check it out, and when you buy this one, make sure you’re ordering an obscure slab of black metal France and not a major appliance. Get a picture of the product; you know the spiel.