Abominant’s Napalm Reign: Does all metal warrant release?

Why does a band like Abominant keep on with practically no recognition from the mainstream or the underground? Napalm Reign is this band’s eleventh full-length album in twenty years, but never once in all that time have I known them to be anything but a discount bin attraction in internet distros. With good reason, too, if one is to judge them on merit alone; though put together from authentic enough metal aesthetics, ranging the gamut from traditional metal to death metal and black metal, and not without the occasional element of pathos, either, Abominant will still only register in history as a poor man’s Arghoslent.

Abominant, much like Destroyer 666, are obviously a band reared on old heavy metal. Unlike D666, however, Abominant have never imbibed the art of the heavy metal hook and how to sustain it for just the appropriate amount of time, at least not in the context of their heavy metal-extreme metal hybrids. Melodic and fleetingly-dissonant phrases enter and exit in a state of near breathlessness but with none of the narrative nous or all-around gravitas symbolic of the Australian band’s best work.

To drag the analogy between the two bands further, Napalm Reign is to Abominant what Wildfire has turned out to be for Destroyer 666; in the twilight of their careers, both bands have decided to give their more traditional influences free rein on separate, fully self-contained heavy metal songs, with just about the same awkward, disjointed effect. No one begrudged Destroyer 666 for their cross-pollination of styles for the better part of fifteen years; fans empathized with the band’s motives, appreciated that they led to a metal of heightened emotion, treasured it like no other, until it became hard to justify the bleedover into bouncy British Steel-like pap. Which is not a knock on British Steel itself! One can enjoy British Steel for what it is without ascribing unnecessarily nobler ideals to it, but a band like Destroyer 666, and Abominant, rising out of the underground, ought to have better awareness of the many gradations that have made them who they are.

Whatever happened to the concept of an album united and whole? Why unthinkingly insert incompatible, mood-despoiling aspects into what one otherwise expects to be a relatively serious and cohesive experience? Why this reduction of the idea of an underground metal album to that of the “single” of popular imagination?

I’m not so cynical as to suggest that Abominant are attempting some kind of play at acceptance through these maneuvers; quite obviously, they are only a band out to have fun with the limited repertoire at their disposal. But does fun outrank substance and intent? Why exactly have Abominant made this album? Does all creation deserve to be heaped upon the world’s collective head at a price? Granted, Abominant‘s commitment is to themselves and no one else, but as admirable a sentiment as that is, do the rest of us have to be privy to it as well? Of course, there is choice involved here, on both the artist’s and the buying listener’s part, but surely there is some consideration and introspection beholden of the artist before that transaction occurs, too?


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