The story of the Swedish band Abandon is quite different from that of many other funeral doom bands; in fact, if on a chronological level the Goteborg band could belong to the group of those who contributed to the consolidation of funeral doom in the last decade of the last century, things actually went differently. The band led by vocalist John Carlzon was born with a strong hardcore imprint, as evidenced in the first demos Dark Days Ahead (1998) and Unfinished Blasphemy (2000), and then came to an excellent and complete form of sludge, always characterized by a spasmodic tension that pervades every single note, both with the first full length When It Falls Apart and with the next In Reality We Suffer (2004). As you can easily see from these data, we can deduce that Abandon are a band far from prolific, but the reason is also to be found in the turbulent existence of these guys who, through music, express their discomfort within a social fabric as perfect as aseptic as the Swedish one. Carlzon, having left aside the political themes touched on in the first demos, began writing lacerating lyrics combined with paintings that embody the ideal visual transposition, leading him to personally take care of the artwork for the last two albums; his artistic inclination is rooted in his family’s DNA, since his two stepsisters Elize and Elina Ryd are both well-known singers – the former as vocalist in Amaranthe, the latter with a solo career more oriented towards pop-jazz – but the worsening of his mental disorders led him first to drug addiction and then to death by overdose in 2008, while he was on tour with the band in Spain. At the very least, the fact that much of the material for the planned full length has already been recorded gives fans the chance to enjoy a masterpiece like The Dead End, an album that I personally consider to be one of the most moving and psychically devastating I have ever heard. This is the work that allows us to include Abandon under the heading of funeral: of course, the sludge component is always important, but the sounds become even more rarefied and diluted; the organ played by Iranian Mehdi Vafaei gives the sound a further solemn drama and Carlzon’s voice is the desperate scream of someone who is fully aware of how every single moment can also represent the last breath of life. After all, the gestation of this record was extremely complex, not only because it was released posthumously after the vocalist’s death: the same serious illness that afflicted both Vafaei and David Fredriksson (bassist and main composer) in that period, as well as Carlzon’s increasing difficulty in connecting with that reality from which he will progressively lose all contact, are the cause of the delayed release but, at the same time, also what gives rise to over an hour of suffered and lacerating music, probably not reproducible in the absence of a background like the one described.

2009 – Black Star Foundation