?Evil Genius? is certainly evil, though maybe genius could be up for debate. The articulate liner notes--courtesy of group mainstay It--detail the ins ?n? outs of a life devoted to creativity and The Dark One with eloquent depth, and Abruptum has the best album art ever, but then let?s not forget that these black metal dudes often like to think of themselves as super-smart and elite, while not necessarily having the mental capacity to support such assertions. Makes no difference to me either way. Black Metal is the only subculture where such narcissism is fully excused by this writer, even endorsed.
Norway?s Abruptum, the demonic duo of Evil (guitars, sounds, piano) and It (screams, violins, drums), has been frying minds and raping skulls with charred black riffs, caveman-esque percussion and tape-loop dementia for over fifteen years now. ?Evil Genius? is intended as a compendium of sorts, covering the years 1990-1995, their earliest recordings. Found within its 12 tracks are a wealth of disturbed sonic excoriations, lurching black tar mantras and creeping industrial nightmares that would?ve sounded right at home on Campbell Kneale?s Battlecruiser label. It?s all very serious and ridiculous, often in the same stroke, yet there is undeniably something entirely unique and cathartic bleeding from every pore of this stumbling, blood-soaked beast.
In retrospect, Abruptum was one of the first bands that saw the possibilities of merging blast beat riff explosions with distorted molten lava jams and the freedom of home-recording (though much of this sounds like it was actually recorded in a studio). Forget about ?the sounds of hell.? This IS hell! Abysmal, tortured Black Death captured in crumbling fidelity, and sure enough it?s a lot more fun to listen to than anything you might hear over the intercom in Heaven. There are louder and tighter metal bands, but there can be only one Abruptum. 8/10 -- Lee Jackson (12 September, 2007)