Album Review: Lahmia – Into The Abyss
Posted by Mark/Angel
When a band has ticked most of my personal criteria for melodic death metal by the end of the first two songs, I can feel fairly reassured that the remainder of the record is going to provide some aural delight for my two ears. Lahmia offer a blend of various extreme metal genres such as melodeath (primary basis), black (mostly Swedish), death and some goth, but actually hail from Italy despite their Scandinavian sound. Their first full-length slab, Into The Abyss, is a honed hour which brings together influences such as Arch Enemy, Thurisaz and Dark Tranquillity, the latter of which remains most prominent, and is still quite a ride after multiple spins.
Firing on all cylinders, “Drag Me To Hell” kickstarts with some Amott-style leads from Gianello and Piacenti, with thrash-tinged melodeath rhythm from Ciaccia on bass. Santilli’s drums pound away for a spell, but come to fruition when boosting the tempo on the catchy-as-hell chorus as Amerise roars the track’s title. The following track “Nightfall”, taken from previous demo Forget Every Sunrise, introduces a Sentenced feel in the guitars, including a well-placed acoustic section. However, the main gem of this song is in the low clean singing, topped off with a partly-melodic, partly-technical solo. Inexplicably, this singing is replaced on the other tracks (“Silent Through The Screaming Crowd”) with a harsher style that is slightly more out of place, but still enjoyable. Amerise has got one impressive set of lungs to switch so fluidly between each style, from low Stanne-like growls to a mid-ranged scream, but each work in context.
The Dark Tranquillity influence pops up multiple times in the album, from “Silent…” echoing “Insanity’s Crescendo” to the Yesterworlds-era rapid-fire lyrical delivery on the title track, although their audible influences don’t stop there. Gothic bands like Charon also pop up, along with a little of the technical psychosis/guttural vocals found in Fleshgod Apocalypse (“The Tunnel), and some other melodic death acts like Sentenced and Be’Lakor. However, these multitudinous comparisons seem unfair to the band, because despite it all they carve a very distinctive style. Interestingly, the other two songs taken from their sophomore demo, the strings-aided “Glass Eyed Child” and doom-like “Grinding Dreams”, are not as nifty as ones like “Strength From My Wounds”, which boasts a melting pot of vocals with seasoning from fellow countryman Trevor Nadir (Sadist), and one indisputably catchy chorus.
The main point which I have to commend Lahmia so greatly on is the seamless songwriting throughout Into The Abyss. When combining such juxtaposed genres as melodeath, black, death and doom, something will usually jut out, such as a vocal style or a riff, but here, everything simply works. This comes across most strongly in the closing track (bar the spoken-word outro) “My Crown”, which manages to sound like My Dying Bride and Thurisaz at the same time, without compromising the character built up over the previous songs. Minor quibbles occur in a couple of tracks (some misplaced spoken word here, a dangerously close flirt with a famous track there), but there is an overall undeniable feeling of professionalism and unity which many recently-formed bands do not possess.
By and large, Lahmia do a successful job of painting themselves as a chameleon of extreme metal. Conversely, this diversity results in a more cohesive and memorable full-length than more formulaic melodeath albums. Into The Abyss was a head-turner for me given its début status; riding on the back of such a strong release positions the band for a strong career ahead of them. Given their impressive roster of touring partners, I’d say that my point has been proven. Fans of melodic yet extreme metal are encouraged to give Into The Abyss a spin or two, as proof of Italy being a contender for producing excellent metal.
The title track is streaming here at Unhallowed Nation Magazine.
Release Date: 14th May
Label: Bakerteam Records
Nationality: Rome, Italy