Crimson Moonlight – “Abaddon”


Swedish black metal masters Crimson Moonlight break a seven year recording silence with their latest EP, “Abaddon.” They started back in the late 90s with the sole goal of recording a black metal demo. Once they accomplished their goal, they released three full albums, three EPs, and a compilation album over 25+ years showcasing a rather patient approach to releasing new music. Through the years, their sound has converged on a brutal, unrelenting, unforgiving black metal eschewing much melody and symphonic elements that were present in earlier recordings. Equally unwavering is their proclamation of the truth of God through rather theologically dense lyrics. To be sure, Crimson Moonlight is not for the faint of heart sonically or theologically.

“Abaddon” is an intense blast of Swedish fury over three songs. Starting with the initial blast of “Wings of Death,” the band lets up only enough for the listener to catch their breath between songs. True to their recent album, “Divine Darkness,” it is intensely brutal, but varies structurally to keep the listener’s interest high.

Like identical triplets, all three tracks have a similar intense style that may be difficult to discern between in a quick listen. After several listens, I get an appreciation for the subtle differences that give each character like, the doom-inspired riffs in the middle of “Wings of Death,” the intensely fast blast beats in “Akal Abaddon,” and the snare opening to “Jackals.” I like how there are defined structures in the songs that make it easier for me to anchor my ear within the chaos.

The default texture is intense blast beats with tremolo or chugging guitar work. This varies where the drums may go half-pace letting the guitar work breathe a bit more. In fact, it’s this playing of the different times of guitar riffs and drums that I find most interesting where sometimes the drums are going full tilt and guitars have a sustained chord or even somewhat doom-inspired riff going on. And then sometimes it switches where the fury is in the guitar work and the drums space out a bit.

The vocals are excellent as well. There is a switching between a couple of intense vocal styles: black metal screams, deep death vocals, and what I would call a diabolical chorus effect that is a blast from a firehose of intense wrath. The lyrics pull a lot of from ancient Christianity which give a lot to meditate on beyond the fifteen minute listen of the EP.

Although quite solid in its execution and brutal in every aspect, there is nothing ground breaking here. Given that it has been seven years since we last heard from them, it feels disappointing that we have only an EP to show for it, but silver lining being that it is of high quality. My hope is that this may be a prelude to a larger release in the near future.

At the end of the day, this is a solid EP release from one of the forefathers of Christian black metal. They remain ever faithful to proclaiming theological truth as well as to pummeling their listeners. For those that appreciate traditional Christianity and traditional brutal black metal, this would be a great release to check out.

Rating: 8.5/10

Written by Sean Bailey

1 – Wings of Death
2 – Akal Abaddon
3 – Jackals

Crimson Moonlight is:
Gustav Elowson – drums
Simon “Pilgrim” Rosén – vocals
Per Sundberg – guitars
Johan Ylenstrand – guitars
Rickard Gustafsson – bass

Release Date: November 24, 2023

Record Label: Endtime Productions

The Glorification of the Master of Light [Demo] (1997)
Glorification of the Master of Light [Live album] (1998)
Eternal Emperor EP (1998)
The Covenant Progress (2003)
Songs from the Archives [Compilation] (2003)
Veil of Remembrance (2004)
In Depths of Dreams Unconscious EP (2007)
Divine Darkness (2016) [review]
Abaddon EP (2023)

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Video for ‘Wings of Death’

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