(By Pat ‘Riot’ Whitaker, Senior Writer/Journalist, RiffRelevant.com)
I have always thought that if you can remember the exact moment that you first heard a band, and that memory is retained, the band is probably quite significant.
Now, you can take that one of two ways: One, the band is significant alright… an unremarkable POS so bad that they won’t let you forget being subjected to them. Or two, the band is so freaking phenomenal, so damned outstanding, that yeah, they instantly embedded themselves in your memory from that point forward.
The second option there is the case for me and Los Angeles’ ABOLETH, who I first heard on the 2017 No Legacy – Volume One compilation [HERE]. I was immediately enamored with them from the first time I heard the song “No Good“, a raucous rock song that’s as damn near perfect as it gets. Thankfully, that song is also one of ten cuts contained on the upcoming full-length from ABOLETH, “Benthos“, which will arrive May 25th via WURM Group Records.
ABOLETH is a relatively young band founded in 2016, by guitarist Collyn McCoy (Trash Titan, The Ultra Electric Mega Galactic) and vocalist Brigitte Roka. It must be mentioned that McCoy uses a “baguitar” – a bass and guitar hybrid which offers the lows of the former and the highs of the latter – and used here with impressive mastery by Collyn.
The ABOLETH line up is completed by drummer Boll3t, except that the drum work on “Benthos” was performed and recorded by none other than Marco Minnemann (Steven Wilson, Joe Satriani, Necrophagist). That might lead you to think that ABOLETH is a progressive rock or prog metal band, that is if you have not heard them before now. If you have, or are hearing them now thanks to this review, then you know how far off base that notion would be.
That notion is cause for me to say “hell to the no” because ABOLETH are purveyors and players of ass kicking, blues-infused, grit-to-the-hilt fucking rock and roll, my friends. Their music is chock full of attitude and swagger, a defiant sort of no bullshit, no frills content that is as potent as it needs to be. A whole hell of a lot of that is clearly acquired by Brigitte’s input, her presence via her voice on this record sets much of the mood at play here.
She channels it in a way that I can only describe as Janis Joplin-meets-Ann Wilson (Heart) and good lord, it will give you shudders when she unleashes the banshee side of it. Of course, all the great vocals in the world are for naught if there isn’t some equally superb music to provide the vehicle to move it. McCoy is that source, the wizard behind the curtain so to speak, as he is the craftsman of these fantastic genre-crossing compositions.
“Benthos” is a game changing record, each of its ten cuts is outstanding in its own right, but there are certain remarkable stand outs, as well. From the slow groove, semi-doom of “Wovenloaf“, its fuzz-fat riffs and pulsing rhythms simmering with lava-like heat, to the swampy “No Good“, it is ALL good. The latter song features a stellar work of pure vocal badassery in Roka’s raspy, whiskey-wallowed modulations. Check out the official video for the song at the bottom of the article.
The sultry proclamations made in “Ode To Plastic” are able to make your heart skip a beat as the song winds and weaves its way across the airwaves. But its follow-up is one of Benthos‘ real awe-inspiring numbers for me, “Vinny Gets Arrested” is a careening, uptempo heavy hitter. Chunky riffs power its advance, bolstered by a feverish, tight-knit drum performance, one of this record’s best, too.
The track is a real highlight of the album, possibly my favorite cut, so I am super excited to bring you the RIFF RELEVANT Exclusive Premiere of “Vinny Gets Arrested” here, now!
Then there is the album-closing “Wytches“, a song that has quickly become another favorite of mine. Backwoodsy at times, while enriched with furious intensity, the guitars reaching points of critical velocity. Right when you expect them to combust, things meld into soaring stretches of controlled descent… and once again, those damned drums!
Look, I have faith in the multi-platinum / Grammy-nominated producer Ulrich Wild, because I’ve been around long enough to know and respect his legacy. He’s an integral component to releases from such bands as Pantera, Static-X, Deftones, White Zombie, SOiL, Project 86 and many more. He is also the man with the insightful sensibilities enough to both sign ABOLETH to his WURM Group label and produce “Benthos“.
Yes, the stars aligned, pretty much, in several different instances to bring about the presentation of ABOLETH to the masses with “Benthos“. You can enjoy it too on CD/LP and Digital come May 25th, it is available for pre-order now HERE.
Speaking of presentation, ABOLETH are on the road right now, touring the U.S. and you can find the remaining dates listed below.
5/19 – Salt Lake City, UT – The Loading Dock
5/20 – Denver, CO – The Roxy Theater
5/21 – Kansas City, MO – The Riot Room
5/22 – Oklahoma City, OK – Kendells
5/23 – St. Louis, MO – Fubar
5/24 – Clarksville, TN – The Warehouse
5/25 – Atlanta, GA – The Masquerade
5/26 – Orlando, FL – The Haven
5/27 – Margate, FL – O’Malleys
5/28 – Greenville, SC – The Radio Room
5/29 – Fayetteville, NC – Drunk Horse Pub
5/30 – Brooklyn, NY – The Kingsland
5/31 – Pittsburgh, PA – The Smiling Moose
6/1 – Toledo, OH – New Longhorn Saloon
6/3 – Westland, MI – Token Lounge