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Suffocate in the Abysmal Death-Doom of ABYSSAL RIFT ‘Extirpation Dirge’ Full Album Premiere

Most of you will know Matt Auxier as an electronic/industrial musician due to his established “main” project 6th Circle, of which he is the sole mastermind. But that’s far from Auxier’s only interest and scope of reach. The Columbus, Ohio-based multi-instrumentalist and producer has been a decades-long metal head and the COVID pandemic seemed like the perfect timing to turn his home-studio into a metal forge where to smelt his long-envisioned death metal weapon and homage his ancient love for Immolation, Incantation and Disembowelment. The project assumed the name of Abyssal Rift, and today we’re stoked to bring you its debut full-length album, Extirpation Dirge, in full! Behold:

Extirpation Dirge was written and recorded entirely by Auxier at his home-studio (though a live lineup has been assembled since), while the drums for the album (the only instrument on it not played by Auxier) were tracked remotely in Canada by Irish drummer David Mahony of the Irish black/grind band Unyielding Love, and the work was then mixed and mastered at Dead Air Studios by Will Killingsworth. The resulting work is far more than just the sum of the influences and people involved. We mentioned the main influences of Immolation, Incantation and Disembowelment dominating the record, and indeed those are the main references you will parce as “Extirpation Dirge” pulls you into its warped and abysmal dimension. But it is truly Auxier’s diverse and genre-encompassing background that does the real magic here. His electronic and industrial background has brought to the plate an extra layer and dimension to the music you wouldn’t normally encounter in today’s death metal.

The performance is machine-like, making “Extirpation Dirge” an inescapable album. A cold and mechanical tesseract sunken into an abyss. The dark ambient element is likewise staggering and omni-present, often leading segments of songs on its own as if you were immersed in interludes by Sunn O))) or Lustmord, with the synth work building towering dark constructs and overlays above the guitars and bass that make the listening otherworldly and hallucinatory. The juxtaposition of sepulchral, rotting death metal and of droney ambient-infused doom is what truly does the magic here, bringing the Disembowelment influences out, with spectral passages unfolding on clean guitars and lysergic synth lines that make the blood freeze in the veins and paralyze you in fear. On the other hand, the intensity and wrath of the aggressive and purely death metal sections is truly skull-fracturing. Morbid Angel and Immolation come to mind here, as the onslaught of mangled and contorted guitars designs surreal and bludgeoning hellscapes. And don’t make the mistake to miss out on the lead guitar work as exemplified for instance in the song “The Rune”, just another example of Auxier’s proficiency and long-running competence with the heavy metal craft.

With all the death metal coming out today, surprises and unexpected turns are few and far, but it’s precisely bands like Abyssal Rift (with its electronics, industrial, and dark ambient-borrowed additions) that curtail this feeling of sameness, coming out of nowhere with a work that has unpredictability and unconventionalism as its defining traits.

“Extirpation Dirge” is officially out tomorrow Decmeber 1, on LP, CD, cassette, and digital via Sentient Ruin, find it HERE or HERE.

cover art by Jessi Nihil

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