Review: Messiah “Hymn to Abramelin” [Chainsaw Murder]

Review: Messiah “Hymn to Abramelin” [Chainsaw Murder]

- in Reviews
Score 87%
87 %
User Rating : 3.5 (1 votes)

If there’s anything that music history has taught us, then it’s that the rapid development of extremity would change metal forever. While bigger names have undeniable received credit for their participation, plenty would unfortunately fly under the radar; as in the case with Messiah.

Messiah would gradually move on with the times, but at this stage, they were a dangerous creature that hints more towards extreme metal’s future than its past. Clonky drums remind me of early (pre-Kisser) era Sepultura, while an unhinged voice covered with distorted already sounds worlds apart from your everyday thrash-inspired yeller of the 80’s. The biggest surprise that the band has in store would be the unrefined, if versatile guitars. There’s plenty of rough thrashing going on here; but when the band ends up on the extreme side of the spectrum, things drastically change. On one hand, we’re dealing with Sarcófago styled berserk tracks like ‘Messiah’ and ‘Anarchus’, which both feature enough razor-sharp guitar riffs that could tear your body in half. On the other hand, Messiah aren’t afraid to slow the hell down and this where I’m getting reminiscent of later bands that would take Celtic Frost’s sludgy riffs to the next level. ‘Space Invaders’ comes crashing down with grand guitars, but ‘Total Maniac’ basically sounds like the prototype of early (read: Dutch) doom/death metal; bringing to mind the vivid imagery of an elephant stomping on its helpless victims without mercy.

Each track has its own specific textures and while I could nitpick about the lack of proper flow, expecting the unexpected is part of the record’s charm. Besides, how many extreme metal records from this time were this versatile, anyway? I suspect that any extreme metal nerd will get something out of Hymn to Abramelin. You’ve got familiar thrash metal riffs, a good dose of early black metal, while the most punishing guitars nod towards the gigantic doom/death metal realm that would emerge in the years ahead. If there’s one track that sums up most of Messiah’s crazy ideas, then it ought to be ‘The Dentist’. This atmospheric album closer exposes mankind’s deepest fears (the dentist?) with verses that spiral into madness, a healthy dose of thrash-fueled riffs to spike your blood sugars with and clear examples of blastbeats-driven death metal once the track reaches its most primal form.

Although Messiah hardly run out of ideas, they occasionally show a lack of focus. ‘Future Agressor’ happily gallops into fields of battle, but it’s a tad underwhelming when compared to the maniacal outbursts and mace-stomping tunes that surround the track. I’m also not sure ‘Thrashing Madness’ is supposed to represent; with random screams scattered in between some pointless guitar noodling, it’s certainly no madness, nor does it thrash very well to begin with. Let’s just call it plain filler instead – but I promise you, this is the only exception to the rule.

Ideally, Hymn to Abramelin should have been considered a lost classic. Way ahead of its time, it marks a great start of this band, yet it’s unfortunate that none of the band’s following albums turned out as well as this one. While the band’s ‘proper’ death metal albums from the early 90’s sound more cohesive, I’ll hardly call them exciting and let’s face it; the best thing about Extreme Cold Weather is that incredible cover artwork. Hymn to Abramelin remains a personal highlight of extreme metal’s unrefined early days and hopefully, it will be one of yours, too.

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