Chupacabra‘s debut The Abject is not a metal album and would undoubtedly be better written about by more knowledgeable, well-rounded music fans but the point of this post is to expose this strange, underground project to a hopefully wider audience. The Abject is the sum result of thirteen years of musical gestation on behalf of its sole creator but for a bunch of songs conceived and executed over such a long period, it retains surprising consistency in its abstract, dream-like tapestry. On a more personal, even motivational level, the fact that such a collection finally sees the light of day is a triumph of the internet and the small man’s big dream. For all those who have dabbled in such things only to be plagued by doubt or sloth, The Abject is a reaffirming call back to arms.
The Abject‘s tranquil, somewhat dissociated demeanour conceals a wealth of musical detail. In many ways, this is an album of contrasts and multiple voices. Harmonic phrases are often terminated or gently washed over with dissonance, melodic development is usually of an intricate, polyphonic type, and vocals, when they do appear, are of a choral, drunken nature at odds with much of the music underneath. Inspirations cover a wide range, from Gregorian-style church music to a sort of light and playful Baroque, even referencing impersonal jazz doodlings amidst fare that can only be described by that repulsive term ‘avant garde‘. It’s the proverbial kitchen sink, but it all somehow sticks without losing native mystique or integrity of vision.
Other-worldly and diaphanous as some of these pieces can get, The Abject is at its best when it holds some pretension to convention and an identifiable theme. Brief as these moments are, they let the music’s humanity shine through in a sincere effort to reach out in understanding. One wishes for these sections to show more continuous and elaborate development but the band’s unorthodox predilections invariably lead it on excursions that may feel unrewarding to the unacquainted ear.
The Abject, however, is personality music and it is mood music. It requires a specific make-up in its audience and it demands a specific setting of them too. The bouts of lethargy it frequently slips into may be unacceptable to metal’s sense of vigour, but a deal of time and sincere thought has obviously gone into this album’s creation, and for that, it deserves to be treated on its own terms.