The dead end
Black Star Foundation/Discouraged Records
Abandon have always had an air of grace about them that belies their sludgy roots and perhaps that's down to the integral part that Mehdi Vafaei's pump organ plays in laying the foundation on which the band's music is constructed. Whether it's pushed to the forefront of the music, as in "There is no escape" or "The dead en", or looming with menace behind guitar-driven tracks such as "Lost we are" or "It's all gone", it's difficult to imagine Abandon having an impact as sinister as they do without. That's not to say they would lack appeal without it. The Göteborg doom crew have always done a sterling job in constructing some of the most crushing and heavy gut-churners out there and they know their craft like seasoned professionals. On "The dead end" they once again prove that they can write songs capable of tearing the very souls from those who embark on a listening experience and they achieve that not only by utilizing the sheer power behind their collective instrumentation, but by knowing when to drop an all-out aural depth charge and when to recede back into the darkness to create an eerie, transcendental mood that's almost hypnotic. Vocalist Johan Carlzon sadly passed away before this album met its awaiting public, but some sort of comfort can be taken in knowing that this was, without doubt, the finest performance the man has given in a complete body of work that comprises nothing but exceptional output. The fact that he had, unlike many vocalists, the intelligence to use his talent sparingly, only when the music really required his presence, served to heighten the impact he had on Abandon's music and showcased not only a creative genius but also a certain modesty. A unique and essential memorial.
- John Norby