Album review: COLTSBLOOD – Into The Unfathomable Abyss

Coltsblood - Into The Unfathomable Abyss

Candlelight – Out Now.

Coming up with a fresh and unique musical proposition in this day and age is quite a challenging undertaking but nothing seems to be able to stop young bands like the Doom/Sludge Metal trio Coltsblood from trying.

First formed in 2010, the trio released a demo and a split with fellow Liverpudlians Crypt Lurker before attracting the attention of UK extreme Metal label Candlelight. Contract papers were soon exchanged and as soon as the ink of the respective signatures had dried, the members of Coltsblood entered the studio and recorded this debut full length album, entitled ‘Into The Unfathomable Abyss’.

Though predominantly a Funeral Doom band, there are certain elements in Coltsblood’s music that are borrowed from harder sounding genres such as Black Metal and Grind.

That, on paper, should make for a very interesting mix but the end result is not always as successful as one would hope or expect. While certain compositions thrive in their simplicity, others sound dull and unimaginative, whereas while the cross-pollination of elements from various genres is quite welcoming in certain songs, in others it undermines their structural integrity and focus.

‘Valhalla Awaits’, the opening track of the album, is a two and a half minute composition operating a simple & repetitive riff whose purpose is to create a build up towards the fifteen minute ‘Beneath Black Skies’ which ensues.

Here Coltsblood showcase their Funeral Doom pedigree, with slow heavily distorted riffs dominating the proceedings and John’s vocals shouting this disturbed message in the background.

There are certain moments when the members flirt with more groove/up-tempo themes only to return to the less urgent riff of the song’s main theme. It is in songs like the two and a half minute ‘Blood’ where the band gets things totally wrong.

I cannot understand, for the life of me,  what prompted these lads to go Grind but this style certainly doesn’t suit them at all so I was pleased to find things returning back to ‘normal’ in ‘Abyss Of Aching Insanity’.

While both ‘Grievous Molestation’ and ‘Ulfeonar’ come across as collections of different ideas, rather than songs operating according to a specific formula, the more focused and quite atmospheric ‘Return To The Lake Of Madness’ prove that solid compositions of true emotional quality are not outside the band’s reach.

As a debut release ‘Into The Unfathomable Abyss’, though a mixed bag, present Coltsblood in a somewhat positive light.

While there are certain compositions which I would have chosen to have left out had this been my album, the remaining material on offer contains just about the right levels of atmosphere and energy to convince the average fan of Funeral Doom of the band’s noble intentions.

A decent start but further benefits will be reaped only through sheer hard work. Back to the drawing board, guys?

John Stefanis

Rating: *** (3.0/5.0)




 

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