There are many bands that face all kinds of difficulties in their course. Some get lost in the way, some do not give up and keep trying. Absense from Athens belong to the second category, with a history dating back to 2008, although until 2015 they were called Infernal Deception.
The only founding member is the guitarist Ilias Krassas, around whom we have four other members after many changes in the line-up. The second guitarist is Dimitris Sakellaris, Nefeli Pischou on vocals, Efthimis Mallios on bass and Nodas Chatzopoulos behind the drum kit. “XV” is their first release, an EP of six songs.
The half hour that lasts makes it quite satisfying. The influences of the musicians and the different approaches they have in their songs, give it great variety and interest. You definitely can’t put them under one genre, which is not always good, but it works fine here. A key component of their music is death/thrash but they are not limited by that at all.
There are acoustic/atmospheric parts, great melodic refrains, metalcore breakdowns, groovy riffs, even doom tempos and an idea of progressive structures. Of course, they do not put all of the above in every song, since all six have their own distinct identity. At times they reminded me of Machine Head and Jinjer.
The vocals are also not one-dimensional, as Nefeli handles both the clean and the extremely enjoyable growls perfectly. The truth is that it is difficult to find singers who do equally well in both areas and this is another great asset of the band. The production is also very good for self-financed work, most of which has been done by the guitarists and helps all the instruments sound clear and to the point.
I know this description may sound too much but fortunately Absense make it work. The, say, modern extreme metal they play has been tried by many and few have succeeded. Mainly because they want to fit as many things as they can and in the process, they produce a bloated mess.
The Athenian quintet, however, does not fall into this trap and manages through the variety and the different influences of “XV” to give it a very good flow, which in the end makes you want to hit the replay button. So, very interesting first piece of work from them, we only have to wait for their next steps.