Make no mistake, The Pardoner is nothing of an apology, and they have little to apologize for. The links between metal and classical music have often been made and proved to go hand in hand over and over, Abhorrent Decimation have found those two links and seemingly blended them together to create something of intricate beauty.
Passages blend and flow beautifully as the album progresses from track to track, creating less of an album feel and more of a single composition of parts. At times you can feel yourself getting lost in the music, while in the other hand, you can lose track as to where you are with pieces almost appearing to bleed into each other. The depth that all this works to is where the band shine. Destructive in its sheer heaviness and power like the thick first brush strokes of an artist, sculpted with a fine brush, bringing out all its intricate points, even down to the poetic, lyrical content which takes itself to a higher level than most popular bands as the lyrical video below shows.
Tracks like opener ‘Soothsayer’ and the follow up ‘Heretic Sacrifice’ will do enough to tell if you will be a fan of the band, strong dynamic shifts and the monotonous, hellish death metal styling on the vocals can often be enough of a deal maker or breaker for most, but for those that it appeals to will find very much reward in the album. From then on it basks in glory, ‘Votive Offerings’ being an extremely memorable track as the first of few to really push the boundary of the listener with a 7:39 play length, second only to the title track and album closer at 9:34.
Abhorrent Decimation proved to be more than just a studio band to the masses at Bloodstock this year, and their presence on stage with constant demand of more from the crowd showed how proud of this release they are, and rightly so. A monster of sorts, this is technically free of flaw and intricately pieced together, with its dark telling themes and telling matched perfectly by its artwork. ‘The Pardoner’ is a firm flag in the ground as a return for the band. British death metal hasn’t sounded this good for a while.