Abnabak - Under the Mask of Humanity

Straight from Morocco - which isn't exactly a country you would associate with black metal - hail "Abnabak". The one-man-band led by "Aggor" is presenting their first demo called "Under the Mask of Humanity". The cover of this release itself sparks some interest (take a look at the picture to the right). As many extreme music releases tend to do it is kept in shades of white, grey and black but also looking like an actual painting (however, I don't know if it is original content). It sparked some interest, so let's take a look at the recorded tracks.

The first track is called "From War", the longest recorded song on this demo sets the course for this demo; a sharp but thin sound without many lower frequencies. Saw-like guitars, a (well) defined bass and (programmed) drums which leave the impression they could've used a lot more kick and last but not least completed by scratchy backgroundish vocals (which can make it hard to understand the lyrics - but that's pretty usual in extreme metal).
Yes, the different songs have all been recorded in a similar style, enhancing the feel they have surely been planned for the same release. That means no big surprises sound-wise however. Still, the recorded tracks are aimed to be grim.
There has with no doubt been some production to this demo as everything is cleaned up and in "its place". This can be a plus or also a downside. Personally I think it could have been dirtier, I don't mind if the mix would be mushier.

Finally, for the composing aspect: the songs usually revolve around one main riff which is accompanied by the vocals after a while. Lyrical themes can be told from the song names: war and hate.

01 From War (05:55)
02 Hate (03:26)
03 Misanthrope (04:34)
04 There is a Period to Everything (04:11)

Subjective impression:
Though not exceptional I like the bass playing on this underground release, but I miss all the low tones. Sounds like an oxymoron? Maybe, the bass doesn't just consist solely of lower frequencies though. Kick drums need some power even if the sound gets 'sloppier' - or, to speak more clearly: some more punch would've been good. When it comes to the songwriting some more variety couldn't hurt - or more emphasis/atmosphere around the main riffs. My favourite recording on here would be "There is a Period to Everything", it has a more balanced sound and features old-school single note melodies.

Might still be available, however it has been released in very little quantities.

Known formats:
25x MC, 25x Pro-CDR

15.08.14, M.V.