Written by Zax
Abiotic – Ikigai
Technical Death Metal from California, USA
Released February 12th, 2021
Via The Artisan Era
Nothing feels fresher as a music critic than starting a new year in music, and I’m starting it right here at Noob Heavy with an upcoming release from the powerhouses in Abiotic, which is to be released by Noob Heavy favorites The Artisan Era on February 12th!
There’s a lot to unpack here. This album is an expansive experience full of technical death metal that has a great grasp on melody and chunky riffs. Well rounded is the term for it, these guys definitely know their stuff. The production is rock solid as well which just elevates everything.
The guitar work is beyond gorgeous, it’s so melodically gripping that you hold on to every moment. The precision and complexity is so pleasing to the ears, and it threw me for a loop a couple times with some unique song structures, but they also make time for some stomping breakdown-esque passages. The drums are mixed splendidly, the kick drum in particular sounds colossal. The bass lines are nice, thick, and groovy as well. Just a very well played record overall. There’s also some symphonic elements and a bit of a Japanese flare to beef up that atmosphere.
The vocals show some very nice range, with some particularly nasty mids. The lyrics on this thing really stand out though, and if I were to use the term loosely, I’d say it’s a bit of a concept album too. The title Ikigai translates to “a reason for being” from Japanese. The album tells stories of people struggling through various hardships, including mental illness and systematic oppression, and finding reasons to keep on living in spite of the odds. The record spins many tales of perseverance that are powerful and rather unique for a record in the death metal genre.
I think this is the best kind of album simply because of how much it offers and how many different ways it can be taken in. Whether your sinking your teeth into the rich, layered instrumentals, or pondering the lyrics, it makes for a great listen all the same. Don’t miss it, February 12th.