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Horrorsynth Album Review: "Abyssal Arcana" by Draven

Karl is a longtime freelancer who's passionate about music, art, and writing.

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Overall Album Impressions

Draven’s Abyssal Arcana is an album of intensely deep shadows that unleashes an unrelenting, terrifying musical onslaught of monumental proportions on the listener. There is seething horror seeping out of ever sonic pore and drenching the whole album in a miasma of fear and danger.

Abyssal Arcana’s success as an album is partially driven by the sheer size and power of the musical elements. The drums sound like a storm emanating from the depths of the abyss, the bass lacerates the ears and a mixture of orchestral instruments and synths moves in powerful lines. Taken together, all of these elements produce great weight and drama in the album.

Another reason why Abyssal Arcana works so well is the strength of the sonic imagery that it creates. There’s a pervasive atmosphere of horror that is exuded by every part of the music. Tension, fear, worry and a sense of threat are created by screaming strings, howling theremin and battering drums that tear at the ears of the listener. This is music that floods the senses with terror.

The synth palette on the album is one that builds up in complex layers. Each layer of the music integrates with the others to create a maelstrom of horror. Draven is uncompromising and unrelenting as he uses the synths to ensnare the listener and drag them down into eternal night.

My Favourite Tracks Analyzed

“Forgive Me Father” provides a fitting opening to the album as metal clashes, doors creak and darkly demonic vocals offer a horrific confession. Distant, nervous notes move in a tension-inducing pattern as the shadowy confession continues.

The fear-inducing background is full of wandering strings and snarling demonic voices. All of the hellish sounds run together in a terrifying sonic morass, presaging the twisted tale that’s about unfold in the album. There’s a final cacophony of noise before the music falls silent.

Thundering drums and cascading minor key strings leap in vaulting, shadowy lines to start off “The Horrifying Autopsy of Deamien Raven.” Heavy guitar growls gruffly as it slices in jagged notes while drums batter and huge bass adds abyssal weight. Worried notes carried on medium-high synths are joined by smashing, stuttering pulses of heavy noise.

Screaming strings contort over the staggering weight of the drums and bass before distorted piano moves tentatively. The piano carries a delicate, anxious melody that contrasts nicely with the broken weight underneath it. Aggressive, snarling guitar cuts and the drums and bass pound hard.

The string section carries an angular, driving melody full of lurking danger as the tremendous weight underneath heaves and shudders. The drums throb heavily and the bass roars before fading out on distorted, ever climbing strings.

“Children Shouldn’t Play With Dead Things” begins as ominous, distant piano carries a tense arpeggio while the piano’s left hand part moves in dark, slow notes. Powerful bass smashes into the track while tight strings scream in terror. The bass hits in bursts while rambling, far off piano echoes into an open space, adding nervousness. The drum and bass onslaught solidifies into a rapidly charging line underneath strings that tangle in angular patterns.

Skittering sounds shiver in the distance over the truly massive drums and bass, deepening the track’s demonic feeling. Strings leap and whirl in a rapidly attack over cavernous rhythmic weight before flowing into danger-filled darkness. A reverent choir and the dirge of clanging bells is joined by the heavy, smashing drumbeat and void-deep bass.

I’m drawn to the ghostly, ethereal melody of the choir as the snarling guitar and ferocious drums slash in underneath.The track moves into a section in which skittering noises and distant, floating piano notes move into open space. The attacking drums, bass and ferocious guitar combine into a raging storm as while the Theremin trembles above it. The music ends on the first piano pattern that introduces the track.

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Wind howls and bells toll ominously as an apocalyptic choir chants and martial drums pulse heavily to create an atmosphere of ritual horror as “BloodGod” commences. Sweeping, metallic sounds move and the unrelenting drum and bass maelstrom slams the listener in the chest. Lacerating, jagged synth growls like the legions of hell over top of the violence underneath it. Tumbling, broken piano-like synth falls through the music, feeling chaotic and terrified.

The strings carry a well-composed minor key melody full of majestic power and deep danger that pulls me in. The melody twists above the sheer weight and rage of the drums and bass. Wildly tumbling keyboard notes trip over themselves to escape the sheer anger of the monumental drums and bass.

The track flows into a void of sweeping sounds, metallic clangs, and demonic snarls. Haunted Theremin floats in a disembodied melody that speaks of loss above the unbelievable power ramming it forward. The music floats as a single bell-like note rings above the shifting, scraping sounds far underneath it. A slow, steady pulse hammers faster before the music ends.

Lost, distorted synth wanders into a howling sonic void as the choir adds a feeling of fear to commence “Demonic Incantation Blues.” High strings scream through massive open space while gigantic drums slowly pulse. The drums grow into a deep throb while elevated, chiming synth carries a nervous note pattern.

Thunderous drums and bass add Stygian depths as the tight, high synth knots into pattern and all the sonic elements float in a huge void. A plethora of clotted sounds writhe together and the drums and bass go on an angry attack. The raised strings moving over the dense, slithering rush of sound effectively add to the feelings of extreme evil and lurking death in the music.

“The Intimate Portrait Of The Devil” comes to life as a background of horrifying sounds and ominous piano creates intense shadow. A pulsating piano arpeggio moves over the crashing drum and bass weight as a choir adds drama and sweeping energy. After a drum fill, the solid, percussive throb begins again while high synth carries a majestic melody that dissolves into elevated sound screaming into empty space.

Descending, minor key notes shift powerfully and the chorus cries out while strings add a steadily churning pattern. I enjoy how all the musical elements deepen the dangerous feelings in the track. Wandering piano drifts as a gusting rush of sound breaks into dramatic, blaring brass that imbues the music with triumphant energy. The “A” section’s choral synth adds a sense of dark victory. The song fades on bending, distorted notes crying out along with a heavily hitting drumbeat before the theremin drifts into space.

Medium-high, full synth plays an arpeggiating pattern of yearning notes as drums throb and quick bursts of metallic sound clash to start “Le Vampire Du Grand Guignol.” A choir comes in, adding shading above the colossal drumbeat as the arpeggio increases the feeling of barely contained terror. The drums slow to a steady pulse while the bass supports the music and the piano carries the tense arpeggio.

A warmer synth carries a more positive feeling melody over the floating Theremin. The piano arpeggiates over a background full of unsettling, uneasy sounds. The wild attack of drums and bass gives way to a brass section carrying a powerfully demonic melody that draws me in to it. The absolute ferocity of the bass dissolves into a string section that slowly winds down as heavy drums drag. The music ends in a vocal sample and the slightly wavering, repeating arpeggio.

“A Horrorsynth Symphony” commences as glockenspiel floats off into space, carrying a fragile series of notes as a leaping cascade of strings spills out a tension-filled melodic line. Chimes twinkle and theremin howls to deepen the creeping terror. Jagged drums and powerful, cutting bass shatter into the track while leaping strings whirl in a mad dance.

The music moves into a segment in which slowly pulsating bass underpins a string section carrying a melody mingling dread with melancholy. I enjoy the mixture of something hurt and something that induces terror. The piano slowly repeats a wandering pattern while strings create depth before an angry storm of drums and bass shatters the relative peace

Theremin cries out in a haunted and pained chorus as snippets of metallic sound and sawing strings give way to a high keyboard synth. The elevated synth carries a tensely shining melody that falls through the music. Now piano dances through before the strings call out in a driven, terrified line over the heavy drum throb and extremely dense bass. The theremin’s spectral tones flow out over that urgency and it all fades.

Rapidly throbbing bass oscillates below tumbling, intertwining strings as “The Conjuring (feat. CONNÖR) begins. The music echoes out into a vast void before the propulsive shudder and leap of huge drums and bass drives onward. A theremin lends its eerie sound to the track as tight, raised synths sparkle in a textural pattern.

Piano and strings create a writhing texture over the depths below them. Once again, elevated strings cry out in worried lines while the drums and bass push the music on with insistence. The piano carries a note pattern that sharpens the feeling of threat while the strings churn and howl.

Huge drums and bass judder and charge, the high strings scream and the theremin creates a ghostly feeling. Darkness flows and the strings slip through in a steadily moving pattern, doing a good job of ramping up the tension. Slow, steady drums and bass keep pounding and the strings and the Theremin carry a wandering melody as voices whisper and shift into silence.

Conclusion

Abyssal Arcana is full of palpable shadows, ferocious bloodlust and unremitting feelings of danger and terror. Draven has continued to craft powerful and fierce horrorsynth music without compromise and this album only extends that musical direction.

© 2022 Karl Magi

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