Viande – L’abime dévore les âmes – Album Review

Artist: Viande

Album Title: L’abime dévore les âmes

Label: Transcending Obscurity Records

Date of Release: 15 April 2022

The benefit of being a record label that releases some quality material is that I will keep coming back for more. You’ll have noticed that in late 2021 and now into 2022, I have reviewed a fair few albums released via the Transcending Obscurity Records label. And that’s because I have liked much of what they have presented, with two of their releases featuring in my ‘best of the first three months of 2022’ feature a couple of weeks ago.

Even if I haven’t fully enjoyed everything I have heard, it is at least fair to say that the quality has been consistent, meaning that my dislike has been because of the style of music rather than it being just plain awful. And, to a greater or lesser extent, that’s my position with this latest offering, the debut full-length from French death metal band Viande, meaning simply ‘meat’ in English. Formed back in 2013, the trio (alongside a live bassist) have released just a demo and an EP, with ‘L’abime dévore les âmes’ their first foray into album territory.

The fact that ‘B’ is credited for ‘guitars + noise’ on the press release will give you a small insight into the music of Viande, as will the title of the record, ‘L’abime dévore les âmes’, which translates into ‘The Abyss Devours Souls’. This is not music for the faint-hearted, or for those searching for something upbeat, melodic, or fragile and beautiful. In fact, Viande seem intent on delivering something that’s the complete opposite of this. It’s music that’s dark, suffocation, nasty, violent, and depraved.

Importantly, whilst the production on ‘L’abime dévore les âmes’ is dirty, organic, and far from being polished, it suits the music very well. You can hear everything that the band wants you to hear, and the overall sound is satisfyingly punishing. Yes, there are times when the material sinks into something bordering on indecipherable, but that’s deliberate and, on the whole, nothing loses too much power or clarity in the mix.

The sounds that greet us as listeners from the outset are a further deadly portent of what is to come. The tone of the intro to ‘Les Dents Du Gouffre’ is disturbing, and the threat is genuine, as gurgling sounds assault the ears like demons from the underworld, calling out to us all, warning us of their evil, sadistic intent. The wailing of guitars only adds to the sense of impending doom, a doom which arrives in the form of heavy and dark death metal. The speed is not intense, but all else is. The vocals from ‘J’ are barely audible at times, rivalling the thick bass rumblings at the bottom end. The drumming (‘M’) creates a solid battering-ram foundation, whilst the glutenous riffs churn and chug with real purpose and density. There is a touch of groove to be heard, alongside some switches in pace that add a sense of extra, dramatic intensity to the downright brutal affair.

Whether I fully like it or not, Viande have got my attention and it’s difficult to pull away once the album has taken you under it’s spell. Across the eight tracks on ‘L’abime dévore les âmes’, there is barely room to breathe, time to let your mind clear, and to think. Suffocating atmosphere and brutal intensity is what this record is all about. ‘Le Ventre Monde’ is a faster composition, but there is a moment at its core, where the pace slows and we’re treated to one of the heaviest guitar sounds I’ve heard in a while, as well as a bulldozing groove. You know what, it might sound nasty and tumultuous, but I quite like it.

If I was to level some criticism the way of ‘L’abime dévore les âmes’, it’d be that there is a lack of overt variety. There are some tracks that are faster, some that are slower, and a few other ingredients sprinkled in to the Viande recipe. However, over forty minutes of this kind of battering is not easy to navigate, especially when it’s this dense and impenetrable in terms of its sound. And when we get tracks on this record that stray beyond the six-minute mark, such as ‘Le Souffle Des Os’ with its mid-section heavily dominated by gargling noise and funeral doom pacing, or ‘Lueurs De Cendres’ towards the end of the album, this is a daunting prospect for many of us. That said, one person’s negative is another’s positive, and so you’ll find many I’m sure (the band included) that enjoy the fact that there’s effectively no let-up on the grim brutality for the entirety of the record. If that’s you, prepare to be pleased.

The more I listen, the more I truly believe that ‘L’abime dévore les âmes’ really is the soundtrack to the most disturbing horror film ever made. The pictures that it conjures in my mind contain contorted faces, reaching out for help, whilst demonic beings slowly, inexorably, pull them into the darkest recesses of hell. I don’t necessarily see blood and gore because this isn’t music of that nature; I feel it is more about frightening the listener to death, via the threat that can only be seen in the shadows.

What keeps me coming back for repeated listens, aside from the desire to write this review, is the smattering of glorious, aforementioned groove. It lies in wait within several of the tracks, such as the marvellously uncomfortable ‘Miroir Decharne’, that serves to produce an evil grin on my face when that head-nodding element emerges.

‘L’abime dévore les âmes’ is one of those albums that I definitely admire, one that I like in part, and one that I will return to, albeit in small doses. If I want to scare the neighbours, or satisfy the more depraved end of my music tastes, Viande are definitely a band that fits the bill. If you thought that death metal was going soft after all these years, then think again, because ‘L’abime dévore les âmes’ is the soundtrack to rip these thoughts from your mind, and tear you limb from limb in the process. ‘L’abime dévore les âmes’ is savage, uncompromising, and thoroughly unnerving – you have been warned.

The Score of Much Metal: 84%

Check out my other 2022 reviews here:

Credic – Vermillion Oceans

Postcards From New Zealand – Burn, Witch, Burn

Darkher – The Buried Storm

Treat – The Endgame

Bjørn Riis – Everything To Everyone

Destruction – Diabolical

Et Moriemur – Tamashii No Yama

Angel Nation – Antares

Wolf – Shadowland

Denali – Denali EP

Centinex – The Pestilence EP

Meshuggah – Immutable

Chapter Of Hate – Bloodsoaked Decadence EP

Ancient Settlers – Our Last Eclipse

Tranzat – Ouh La La

Playgrounded – The Death Of Death

Father Befouled – Crowned In Veneficum

Abbath – Dread Reaver

PreHistoric Animals – The Magical Mystery Machine (Chapter 2)

Kvaen – The Great Below

Michael Romeo – War Of The Worlds, Part 2

Dark Funeral – We Are The Apocalypse

Carmeria – Advenae

Agathodaimon – The Seven

Moonlight Haze – Animus

Hellbore – Panopticon

Konvent – Call Down The Sun

Idol Of Fear – Trespasser

The Midgard Project – The Great Divide

Threads Of Fate – The Cold Embrace Of The Light

Arkaik – Labyrinth Of Hungry Ghosts

New Horizon – Gate Of The Gods

Cailleach Calling – Dreams Of Fragmentation

Tundra – A Darkening Sky

Sylvaine – Nova

Hath – All That Was Promised

Sabaton – The War To End All Wars

Kuolemanlaakso – Kuusumu

Oh Hiroshima – Myriad

Godless Truth – Godless Truth

Shape Of Despair – Return To The Void

Eight Bells – Legacy Of Ruin

Embryonic Devourment – Heresy Of The Highest Order

Serious Black – Vengeance Is Mine

Allegaeon – Damnum

HammerFall – Hammer Of Dawn

Immolation – Acts Of God

Veonity – Elements Of Power

Nightrage – Abyss Rising

Arjen Anthony Lucassen’s Star One – Revel In Time

Pure Wrath – Hymn To The Woeful Hearts

Dagoba – By Night

The Last Of Lucy – Moksha

Arð – Take Up My Bones

Embryonic Autopsy – Prophecies Of The Conjoined

The Devils Of Loudun – Escaping Eternity

Cult Of Luna – The Long Road North

WAIT – The End Of Noise

Abysmal Dawn – Nightmare Frontier

Amorphis – Halo

Nordic Giants – Sybiosis

Persefone – Metanoia

Vorga – Striving Toward Oblivion

Mystic Circle – Mystic Circle

Nasson – Scars

Burned In Effigy – Rex Mortem

Silent Skies – Nectar

Celeste – Assassine(s)

Abyssus – Death Revival

SOM – The Shape Of Everything

Ashes Of Ares – Emperors And Fools

Beriedir – AQVA

Lalu – Paint The Sky

Nocturna – Daughters Of The Night

Battle Beast – Circus Of Doom

Lee McKinney – In The Light Of Knowledge

Descent – Order Of Chaos

Aethereus – Leiden

Toundra – Hex

Ilium – Quantum Evolution Event EP

Power Paladin – With The Magic Of Windfyre Steel

Necrophagous – In Chaos Ascend

Infected Rain – Ecdysis

Wilderun – Epigone

You can also check out my other reviews from previous years right here:

2021 reviews

2020 reviews

2019 reviews
2018 reviews
2017 reviews
2016 reviews
2015 reviews

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