Russia’s Abstract Spirit have a relatively short career behind them, but despite this, Theomorphic Defectiveness is their fourth full length in five years. After the good debut with Liquid Dimensions Change and its notable follow-up Tragedy And Weeds, Horror Vacui marked a certain tarnish, which invests the new record with some importance precisely to check the health of the Moscow band. The first impact was indeed not very encouraging, so much so that I found it difficult to get in tune with these often distorted sounds, in which at times passages are abused that, with the intention of evoking morbid or otherwise decadent feelings, achieve the sole effect of breaking the pathos that the composition has previously managed to create. Subsequent listens at least allowed me to get at least a little in tune with their music, coming to the conclusion that this work by Abstract Spirit has the defect of being too seesaw, suspended as it is between sufficiently evocative moments and others in which the vain search for a less obvious sound leaves on the contrary more than one perplexed. It is quite uncovered, in fact, Abstract Spirit‘s current desire to present themselves as a sort of bizarre funeral orchestra, with I.Stellarghost’s keyboard frequently simulating the buzzing sound of a gloomy trombone, an idea in itself not bad but which, beyond the questionable success, has already been reproposed albeit in slightly different ways but with equal results, by Who Dies In Siberian Slush (where, moreover, Stellarghost herself lent her work as a guest). As far as I’m concerned, funeral should be an easier subject to deal with, and the sense of the disintegration of existence can also be conveyed through more linear sonorities, albeit far from easy listening, as indeed the disbanded Comatose Vigil did very well, just to stay in the area, in what was their last record, Fuimus… Not Sumus. The juxtaposition to this band is by no means accidental, given the common presence in the line-up of drummer and vocalist Ak iEzor: at this juncture the connection can be found in Za Sonmom Cvetnyx Snovideniiz, a slow litany full of moments of elevated lyricism and, by a distance, the best original track on the record. I speak of original track because within the disc shines like a supernova the cover of a historic song like Skepticism’s March October, which, however, ends up backfiring on ours precisely because, as well executed as it is, it ruthlessly shows the difference, still marked compositionally, between the masters and the disciples. Theomorphic Defectiveness is far from a bad record, this should undoubtedly be made clear, but from a band with Abstract Spirit‘s potential one would really expect much more. It will probably be the next work that will provide a definitive indication of the musical direction taken by the Russian band.

2013 – Solitude Productions