Of course, everyone who knows Abysmal Grief, knows what to expect: dark, horror themed doom metal with loads of atmosphere and almost hypnotic pulsation of distorted guitars. Those elements are immediately present in opener 'Nomen Omen'. The song reminds me of anything between Moonspell, My Dying Bride, Death SS and The Vision Bleak. With gothic keyboards and a sluggish mid-tempo speed, the song easily gets stuck in my brain, which in this case is a good thing.
That dramatic, theatrical approach is present throughout the entire album, often quite elementary as in the repetitive 'Strange Rites of Evil'. This song doesn't need complicated structures of surprising hooks to become a doom classic. Only sheer heaviness and a blackened tension are needed to maintain the listener's attention. Besides, the whole is well-varied and never gets stale. Even the vocals range from death growls to blackened screams to deep, haunting clean voices.
'Child Of Darkness' and 'Radix malorum' are probably my favorite tracks on this album, although that's a very tough decision to make. It's strange how Abysmal Grief manages to combine traditional doom metal with horror music and still perfectly fit into the present-day stoner-induced doom scene. I mentioned a few bands before but I would certainly like to add bands like Winter, Electric Wizard, Pentagram and November's Doom to that list. These Italians certainly earned their place between those names.
So take it from me, this is a brilliant piece of doom metal with six massive songs. Every doom metal fan should have this in his collection. I'm absolutely positive that this album will find the way to my speakers often from now on and I'm sure that I'm not the only one who will feel that way. Highly recommended...