Beginning with a dreamlike acoustic introduction accented by the smoky beckoning of singer Brittney Slayes, opener “Waking Dream” quickly punches into a colossal wall of sound, setting the stage for the auditory escape that is Abyss. Powerful anthems such as the immense power metal-encapsulated title track “Abyss” and metallic pop-tinged earworm “Through Stars” conjure classic elements while maintaining an entirely fresh, forward-thinking approach. Guitarists Andrew Kingsley and Grant Truesdell turn heads with wicked work on stellar tracks such as “Legacy” (fans of artists like Devin Townsend and Astronoid, take note), while Slayes showcases her incredible vocal diversity and range on mighty epics like “Return To Me” and “The Wind That Shapes The Land”. Drummer Scott Buchanan makes technical strides on burners “Soulbound” and “Faster Than Light” – setting breakneck twists and turns ablaze with his bandmates. UNLEASH THE ARCHERS rounds the edge of Abyss with throwback-hued “Carry The Flame”, and wraps up with the soaring, rewarding concept closer “Afterlife”.
Thematically, Abyss is the direct sequel to the band’s 2017 album Apex. Brittney Slayes explains about the concept:
“Our protagonist, The Immortal, is once again awakened at the beginning of our story, but this time he is in an unknown place: a ship out in deep space. He wanders alone for a time, reflecting on his misdeeds, searching for his new master. Finally, he finds him, and learns that it is the Grandson of The Matriarch, our antagonist. The Immortal had taken The Grandson’s father away some sixty years before, to be sacrificed by The Matriarch in a ritual to achieve immortality (the events from Apex) and now the Grandson seeks revenge against The Matriarch with the aid of her own weapon, The Immortal.
This album is a classic take on good versus evil, light versus dark, The Grandson versus The Matriarch, but it also uses the ‘person versus self’ literary device in that The Immortal is battling with the good and evil within himself, and must decide in the end if he is simply a tool for others to use, or a man with free will and the ability to choose his own path; a struggle I think every human can relate to.”
Abyss was once again engineered, mixed and mastered by Jacob Hansen of Hansen Studios in Denmark (Volbeat, Delain, Amaranthe), with production by guitarist Andrew Kingsley. Additionally, transcendent closer track “Afterlife” features orchestration contributions from Francesco Ferrini of Italian symphonic death metal machine Fleshgod Apocalypse. Fans will notice that, unlike on Apex, Abyss incorporates a weighty dose of synth in the mix, and for the first time ever, all tracks were written on seven strings – adding to the massive expanse of the album’s sound as it explores the celestial realm.
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