Now eight albums deep into a 25+ year history, Italy’s ABHOR renew their commitment to the dark arts with the evocatively titled Sex Sex Sex (Ceremonia Daemonis Antichristi). With the core membership of Domine Saevum Graven and Ulfhedhnir (on guitar and vocals respectively) intact since 1995, one would be forgiven for assuming you know what you’re walking into with ABHOR.
With the cover continuing the red/crimson theme of 2015’s Ritualia Stramonium and Occulta Religio of three years later, thoughts (among other things) arise of COVEN’s oft’ imitated Jinx Dawson, but this being ABHOR, there’s a snide swipe at the liturgies of the band’s homeland, something alluring in the artwork alone.
Imperial, ‘The Curse Of The Twins’ falls prostrate before the rumbling title track, encompassing as ABHOR has become over time, a Turin-shroud from which there is no escape this time. The Italians have never been known for blizzard blast beats and blower/blur guitars, more creating space for each instrument to stand on its own, and one enjoyable thing about this mix is being able to single out a specific element in the band’s sound, should you want to focus on such. And that one can when dealing with such an overpowering production is impressive.
‘Ode To The Snake’ uncoils, striking lightning quickness, dripping-venom fanged, while ‘Ritual Satanism’ loses its footing a bit, a bit too disjointed for its own good, though it still manages to hold interest if only to see what unexpected turn will be taken. I think this one might require more listens to be sure, could just be a grower that hasn’t grown yet to my ears.
The strangely titled ‘October 31st, 2010’ captivates, haunting and harrowing, keys hacking and slashing in that Keith Emerson way back when he’d jam swords into the stops of his instrument, a maniacal imp at the church organ, flailing away – that’s the impression here, and ABHOR at its most violent within.
Do we still know what we’re walking into with an ABHOR album? Sure. But the quality over the past decade has been constant, and the quintet still manages to keep things interesting with Sex Sex Sex (Ceremonia Daemonis Antichristi).
Review By: Lord Randall
Sex Sex Sex (Ceremonia Daemonis Antichristi)
4 / 6