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Abandon : In Reality We Suffer

Abandon take one step further away from the "definite and accepted" form of Sludge of the original founding fathers... And managed to forge a classic album.

When you think 'classic' Sludge it’s usually towards the US, and the Louisiana and New York scenes, that all eyes look in unison. And when you think Doom and Sweden, you’re bound to namedrop Candlemass, Count Raven and a shitload of bands playing Heavy/Epic Doom Metal. So when a Swedish Sludge band pops up - once every blue moon - we ought to be at the very least interested.

Abandon are our newest addition to the "lost gem" saga (Classic Revisited) we began a while ago. In God We Trust...In Reality We Suffer. Because pain is really the leitmotiv of the Swedes. It is palpable in each and every movement and most certainly through the vocals of Johan Carlzon: a pain he proved unable to deal with as he died, victim of an overdose, prior to the release of their third album. Merging the violence of Hardcore with the aesthetics of Doom Metal, Abandon take one step further away from the "definite and accepted" form of Sludge of the original founding fathers. To it, they add an extra feeling of a bottomless pit of despair that, more commonly in this grey music area, most people would associate with Funeral Doom.

First of all, In Reality We Suffer, with its raw violence and harsh vocals, might scare most people away from the very first spin. And it did in most cases - I got my own copy from someone who wasn’t able to go through this bloody pulp, as a matter of fact. As the album begins with some kind of "slow" introduction, nothing really prepares you for the forthcoming onslaught and when the track 'Trauma is the Trigger' starts going nuts, it gets even harder to consider this as strictly Doom Metal. 'Somnambulistic' follows almost right after, walking just about the same path and making you wonder even more "where the hell have I set foot?". As stupid as it may seem, I'd like to think of this beginning as some kind of fake warning put there to scare the sissies away before the real Doom sets in.

People suffering from depression sometimes go wilder than a jackass stung by a bee to eventually fall back in catatonia afterwards…bouts of anger followed by long episodes of dire hopelessness. Abandon are that kind of patient who springs just as easily out of a straightjacket as he falls into morphine-induced trance. So, when the two minute mark ticks in 'Somnambulistic', and just as the drugs are brutally taking their toll on the wretched body that is Abandon, the band then reveals another side of its personality, going all smooth and slow. What then follows could be compared to Low's own blend of Slowcore. The analogy with the Mormon band reaches its epitome with the monolith that is the 15 minute long song 'In Hopelessness Enlightened'. Except that Low never sounded so desperate and tragic.

Since our patient is rather regular in his behavior, 'Piles of Pigs' sees another burst of hatred, which will soon be followed by drugged languor. And so on, and the cycle repeats itself till the very end: relentlessly going from waves of horror to placid, and almost beautiful, landscapes, which - and it might be just me - have a faint resemblance to those of Mournful Congregation. For those "lucky" enough to get the CD version with the bonus track, I can’t help but picture our patient sedated out of his agony, looking at the ceiling of his isolated cell in Bedlam while time repeats itself over and over. With no consequences whatsoever. If you’re not that "lucky", the original album is already an hour long, so - depending on your mood - those extra 15 minutes might seem like an endless nightmare. The lengthy duration of this record will help you achieve just about the same isolation these guys may feel or, let’s be honest, it could simply turn you off.

I’m not sure if it's one of those albums that really fall in a "love it or hate it" category on a first spin. Most likely, to really enjoy In Reality We Suffer and to actually "feel it" and see the beauty under the crust, it takes more of an acquired taste than a mere "gut feeling" - unless you're just as fucked up as they are to begin with. I certainly can understand why some people would hate it but if you're adventurous enough or if it happens to be the "right" day, you will eventually enjoy it and see past the startling aggression. I know I did and even if it was, and still is, painful at times, there is real recompense at the end. No guts, no glory.

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Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. …
2. Trauma is the Trigger
3. Somnambulistic
4. In Hopelessness Enlightened
5. Piles of Pigs
6. In Reality We Suffer
7. Will Gladly Perish
8. …
9. Stillborn Persistence

Duration : Approx. 60 minutes

Visit the Abandon bandpage.

Reviewed on 2012-12-15 by Frederic Cerfvol
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