Review of Abiotic - "Ikigai"

Originally conceived in the preeminent, age-old death metal hotbed of Miami, Florida, Abiotic are the band that almost were not anymore.

Based on the frenetic strength of their debut EP, Abiotic instantaneously courted the attention of many major metal labels, but eventually they signed on the dotted line with arguably the most famous of them all, Metal Blade, who backed the Floridian metal mongers’ first two outrageously good LP’s, 2012’s Symbiosis and 2015’s Casuistry.

Abiotic relentlessly toured the world in support of these releases, sharing the road life and many stages with such acts as Rivers of Nihil, Allegaeon, Wretched (which encompasses just one incredible tour in 2013, by the way), Cattle Decapitation, Suffocation, Dying Fetus, Exhumed, Origin, Belphegor, and many other up-and-coming and stalwart acts of the day.

In doing so, Abiotic established themselves as one of the finest, most talented extreme technical death acts in the nation, if not the world, and firmly placed themselves among the pantheon of Miami death metal royalty.

But then, following the wrap of their 2016 U.S. tour, the larger things in life slowly began to loom larger in the rearview mirrors of many of Abiotic’s collective members. Soon after, Abiotic officially announced a hiatus of indeterminate length...and while one can never be upset with humans for being humans and needing to take care of themselves first before their art, there was still a cloud of loss and grief hanging around the halls of Hated One HQ when the news came across the wire, because losing one of your favorite bands (possibly for good) is never pleasant.

In 2018, however, rumblings of an Abiotic reunion started to emanate from John Matos, Matt Mendez (original members/guitarists), and vocalist Travis Bartosek; and the rumors were eventually (and blissfully) confirmed in 2019 with the release of the single “Emerald” by Abiotic’s newly revamped lineup, along with the exciting announcement of a new LP being in the inevitable offing.

“Emerald” not only screamed from the rooftops that Abiotic had triumphantly returned, but also put on dazzling display that they were no longer the same band, not only in lineup, but also in influence, texture, and sound.

New bassist Killian Duarte (also of Scale the Summit) naturally brings virtuosity and technicality to the stockpile, of course, but his additional wealth of jazz/funk/classical influence and inflection is something never heard before in the Abiotic arsenal. And Duarte’s audibly tangible connection with new drummer Anthony Lusk-Simone? Well, that’s no coincidence, either, seeing as Lusk-Simone and Duarte have been jamming together for years as the rhythm section of Boston’s Lattermath.

Ten months and a pandemic year since the tantalizing release of “Emerald”, and Abiotic’s long-awaited third full-length release Ikigai is finally almost upon us. Due out on February 12th from America’s new leaders in technical death metal, The Artisan Era (Let’s face it, someone had to take up the mantle when Unique Leader dropped it, didn’t they? Thanks, TAE! Love you, guys!), Ikigai makes the long years well worth the wait.

Seriously, ladies and germs, Ikigai delivers the goods! With newfound melodic influences ranging from Japanese classical to futuristic, symphonic keys and well beyond, Ikigai sounds like all the best of Symbiosis-era Abiotic’s ball-breaking heaviness has been merged with a blend of the greatest in 21st century melodic, atmospheric tech death à la Dreamless-era Fallujah, The Zenith Passage, Rivers of Nihil, and Virvum. Truly, it is wondrous to behold.

Containing a multitude of guest appearances from industry All-Stars including but not limited to Trevor Strnad of The Black Dahlia Murder, former Contortionist/current The Room Colored Charlatan vocalist Jonathan Carpenter, and Fallujah’s Scott Carstairs, Ikigai is an extreme tech death wet dream that will without any shadow of a doubt appear on end of year lists across the globe, including ours.

Stunning, hypnotic, heavy as fuck, and brimming with enough flying fingers and appendages to make the Hindu goddess Kali jealous, Abiotic’s Ikigai is everything you could want in a comeback album and more: It’s right, it’s tight, and it begs to be listened to again and again and again. And maybe once more again, just for shits and giggles.

To check out Abiotic’s brand new official video for “Grief Eater, Tear Drinker” (featuring Jonathan Carpenter on guest vox), press play below, and get hyped for this amazing album! To pre-order a copy of Ikigai, links are provided below, and don’t forget to check out all the sick bundle packages available. Get on it, and stay metal always! \m/

Rating: 99 / 100 (A++)

Release Date: February 12th, 2021 (The Artisan Era)

Genre: Extreme Technical Death Metal

FFO: Cattle Decapitation, Suffocation, Wretched, The Black Dahlia Murder, Origin, Archspire, Fallujah, Rivers of Nihil, The Zenith Passage, Virvum

Abiotic Links: Facebook, Instagram, Bandcamp


Recent Posts

See All