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8/10 Mladen

LORN - Towards the Abyss of Disease - CD - Eerie Art Records - 2006

review by: Mladen Škot

For an Italian band, Towards the Abyss of Disease must have been hard to record. There is no ornamentation, no flamboyance and no attempts at sounding symphonic. No jazz parts either. Just cold, grim black metal. Lorn are from northern Italy, but still Italy. Trying to guess by listening to the music, they might as well be from northern Europe, though not even the proverbially cold Scandinavians could manage to restrain themselves this much.

But, straightforwardness and rigidity do not necessarily equal boredom. Discipline and determination would be a better fitting description. The music is built upon long, wide, majestic black metal riffs and backed up by steadfast drumming, so much without variation that it might be a drum machine — but it isn't. The percussion is simply tasteful, and, paying attention, the cymbals do just as many crashes as necessary.

Then the guitars — on the surface they appear to be static, but look closer and there are subliminal parts and overtones. The tempo varies from slow, marching and simple to overly long blastbeat sections, with some quite impressive shifts. But, due to the overall coldness, the parts that might have turned into adrenalin rushes become just the different viewing angles on the same imaginary landscapes, cold, dark, snowy forests. The sound is near perfect, perhaps even too clean. Typical glassy guitars, audible bass and powerful, natural-sounding drums. Yet, the clarity and precision don't detract from the general feeling. Take Towards the Abyss of Disease as a soundtrack, a primer for the imagination and the mind will fill the seemingly empty spaces with all the imagery Lorn wanted you to imagine. The most curious song is "Hypnotic Snowfall": an instrumental with apparently just one, repeating, guitar theme — but...

The vocals deserve a special mention: clear, cold and blood-filled rasps, and the way they are delivered and naturally distorted never fails to hold the listener's attention. And really, who could resist song titles like "Trolls. Hordes. Axes."?

Lorn's second full-length isn't for everyone, though. The black metal beginners will just see it as boring, unoriginal and unadventurous. But, the veterans who know that some things are timeless will accept Towards the Abyss of Disease for what it is, and often come back to it. (8/10)


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