Pantheon of Fiends
( Album Vinyl Digital )
Zhark LP4 | Out: 09.09.2005

Abelcain, "Pantheon of Fiends"
Zhark International
It's hard to make a good genre record. The emphasis there is on "good" because it's easy as hell to follow a formula of expected tricks and gags and come out with yet another regurgitation of a genre. Like in the film world, the trick to making a genre record that stands out on its own as a pillar of the genre is an artist behind the work that is willing to jump in head first with a love of the material and an acceptance of the genre's successes and its detritus. Abelcain has turned in such a record—a measuring stick of sorts for thematic breakcore. Pantheon of Fiends, from its lavishly printed sleeve to its two thick plates of blistering beats and uneasy strings, is the ultimate love letter to classic horror films via breakbeats and distorted bass. The spooky sounds and zombie samples have been tried before in this small corner of the world, and the pairing of blood-splattered imagery with hard, asymetic drum breaks is itself an archetype in the world of breakcore and hard drum n bass. All that makes Abelcain's success here that much more impressive, because he's synthesized the beats chopped like bodies and the ominous piano loops more completely than anyone before. The samples aren't just recognizable, they are intentional references to the most iconic horror films of all time and they serve to tie the scattershot rhythms to a theme. In fact, Fiends begs the question, "why hasn't anyone scored a horror film with music like this before?" With rhythms that imitate insects surrying and skeletons marching up stairs in a dank castle, this record would be the perfect way to bring Hollywood's fascination with remaking horror classics into the new millenium. While so many of Abelcain's peers are off on an experiment to further molest the amen break with layers of distortion and monotonous bass pounding, Fiends finds success in a different formula. Cleaning up the beats, allows their razorblade cuts and sutures to bounce giddily off of atonal pianos and theremin samples. Focusing on the precise composition of well-known sounds rather than the quest to produce squelches and skree heretofore unexplored makes the record feel as classic as the references is swipes. In the end, like the best horror movies, Pantheon of Fiends takes the familiar and makes it creepy, brooding, and at the same time fun. People don't go to horror movies to be scared for the sake of being truly afraid; they go to be scared as entertainment, and Pantheon of Fiends is above all else, entertaining.- Matthew Jeanes


"Pantheon of Fiends"

Complex breakcore celebrating classic horror films, making for an intriguing and visceral gallery of the fiendish and frightful.

Abelcain has been a member of the Zhark Records roster for quite some time, churning out his own twisted brand of breakcore and hard drum & bass. Not unlike his contemporaries on the label, Abelcain's sound is a dramatically frantic concoction of mutilated breakbeats and fractured synths and samples that are always sure to hurl the listener into a dizzy spell. With Pantheon of Fiends, his fourth Zhark release, we are treated to his trademark array of eccentric progressions and patterns, paying tribute to classic horror films with a fresh approach of distorted electronic ferocity. From the onset of the introductory track's atonal piano and horrific atmosphere, augmented by sounds of creaking and screaming, we are plunged into a festering world of strange imagery, monochrome and monstrous. The album then proceeds in dramatic form, overlaying symphonic manipulations and waves of synths with percussive attacks that could be described as insane ramblings if not for a subtle sense of intricate structure. Beneath it all is a clear sense of musical direction, with subtle melodies evoking the scary movies of old in fine form. Just listen to "Curse of Dracula" with its hints of dark ambience to the tense buildup of strings flashing by like vampire bats, or even to the scurrying synths of "Musca Domestica" racing by like frenzied houseflies. Also noteworthy is "Resurrection of Imhotep," which has a slower rhythm than the majority of the album, but is no less intense as its arrangement of creepy organ and rapid fire percussion perfectly complements the image of being trapped in an ancient pyramid labyrinth pursued by a hideous mummy. It could be argued that the primary flaw with Pantheon of Fiends is its lack of variety from track to track; while certainly not formulaic, each track does possess the same basic ingredients, giving the album the impression of an extended piece rather than a collection of individual tracks. Of course, given the subject matter, this might be intentional, but even a monster movie marathon has at least one break for popcorn, though the last track does do well to close things out on a more abstract note with a collage of demonic samples and bleak sample-driven ambience. If you're looking some really complex breakcore with a touch of dramatic concept, Pantheon of Fiends will surely entertain as well as any of the classic horror films it celebrates.
Curse of Dracula
Lupa Lust
The Crooked Shadow of Mr. Hyde
Bride of the Monster
Musca Domestica
Strategem of the Invisible Man
Resurrection of Imhotep
House of Fiends