Review: Indesiderium – Wanderer of Abyssal Plains

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Written by The Black Metal Bitch

Believe it or not California is fast becoming a hotbed for black metal. While heavyweights like Leviathan and Xasthur have become big names, not only across the country but in places that generally scoff at the thought of Americans playing black metal, it would seem a lot of musicians in the state are coming together and putting out some really good black metal projects.

There’s Lightning Swords of Death out of Los Angeles with their brutal blend of death metal and black metal, of course aforementioned Xasthur leading the way for Depressive (also from L.A.), Crebain in San Francisco, Noctuary, Draugar, about a billion other bands and let’s not forget Von who many people consider a direct influence on the Scandinavian scene – so it’s safe to say California knows what they’re when it comes to black metal.

Indesiderium is another product of Los Angeles, this two-man operation came together in 2012 and has since released a full length album, as well as a split with the L.A. black metal group, Gravespawn. The band’s most recent album, Wanderer of the Abyssal Plains, is a solid, hard hitting album packed with enough misanthropy and raw energy to satisfy the unholy masses and fans of the genre.

The album starts with ‘Nocturnal Isolation,’ which is an instrumental three minutes of wolves howling, running water and sounds of nature over a rather melancholy guitar track. It’s not quite what you’d expect, but when the second track, ‘No Light,’ explodes through my head phones I’m instantly reminded of older Dark Funeral. As the song progresses Indesiderium proves to be quite a talented group of musicians, with “Father” Mattias behind the kit delivering thunderous blast beats and impressive fills, guitarist and singer Atrum Abbas demonstrating precision fretwork and session bassist Advorsus contributing some expert skill in rhythm to round off the roster. All hands are on deck as the band twist and turn through the song displaying range and versatility all the while remaining true to the black metal sound.

Indesiderium continues along the same vein, it’s punishing intro ascends, machine gun snare drums and Atrum’s demonic vocals assault forward until it all comes crashing down into a melodic, powerful chorus full of despair and melancholy. While I wouldn’t slap the “atmospheric” tag onto the group there are parts full of it; there’s an overwhelming depressive vibe about midway through before it once again grabs you by the throat and finishes in a flurry of chaos. Indesiderium definitely combines my favorite parts of DSBM (depressive, suicidal black metal) with a raw, traditional sound and it’s done very well and with a talented group of individuals.

‘Letting Go’ is loaded with depressive elements, it’s probably the slowest track of the album, churning guitar riffs over some great bass playing and slow but impressive drum beats. If one could create a sound to describe agony and suffering they may want to take some lessons from Indesiderium. ‘Letting Go’ is beautiful and haunting and lends a very human element to the album.

Finishing off the album is the title track, Wanderer of the Abyssal Plains’ and the group picks up the pace with some crunchy, fist pumping guitar work but much like ‘Letting Go’ it has an overall depressive feel unlike the first few tracks which were pure Satanic Blitzkrieg. It’s winding and dismal and the bassist in me can’t help but admire the finger cramping bass lines that are woven into the mix. I can also appreciate the fact the production of the song is good enough that I can actually make out the lyrics; an added bonus for an already good album.

I’m not as thrilled with the last two songs as I was with the beginning of the album and only because I want heavy, fast and evil, and not so much with the sad, slow, and dreary. Of course, I can’t fault these guys for thinking outside the very small, unyielding box that is black metal. Musically, it’s done well and despite the six to eight-minute-long songs Indesiderium do well enough to avoid sounding generic.

It’s a short full length album with only five songs (including the intro) but I suppose that’s irrelevant when it comes to slapping a ranking number on it. Wanderer of the Abyssal Plains is a good album and I think hardcore fans will enjoy the first few tracks, but may not be head over heels for the final two tracks – I only say this because I know hardcore fans. I think the band is trying to appeal to two separate subgenres of black metal (or perhaps that’s just how it seems to me; maybe a clash of influences?) and while a lot of true black metal fans enjoy DSBM, I think a good percentage do not and the final two songs definitely had an air of depressive in the mix which I believe will either work for the band or against them.

Overall the musicianship is excellent, there is definitely talent in this group (I loved the prominence of the bass and would love to see Advorsus return). The songs are well put together with multiple change ups and riffs; there’s substance here and not just the same couple of chords over and over again. I think Indesiderium will fit perfectly into CD collections of more open minded fans, particularly those with an appreciation for bands capable of producing a variety of sounds, but it may not be for the finicky, ruthless critics who demand 100% evilness and unending blast beats from beginning to end. In the land of black metal, much like everything else, it’s really hard to please everyone but with that being said I give Wanderer of the Abyssal Plains a solid 7.5/10.

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