When an artist takes as long as it does to ferment ‘product’ as Aussie death metallers Beyond Mortal Dreams do – this is only the band’s second full-length in a thirty year career, and the construction of this particular record commenced half a decade ago – the material featured necessarily takes on a ‘timeless’ nature that is at once as comforting as it is familiar. Death metal has developed a lot since 1992, but Beyond Mortal Dreams’ tectonic movement – I’d place them in their Cretaceous period now – doesn’t always reflect that churn and restless impetus. There’s a staid nature to the opening three songs on this record (from the Slayeresque intro onwards the listener is prompted to look backwards rather than forwards along death metal’s line of evolution), and whilst that is by no means unpleasant – these people are very, very, good at what they do – it does render the material a little toothless to the modern ear, if hardly inessential.

When they do catapult themselves forward a little, the results are, frankly shocking – the space prog of They Are Seven, for instance, may well come to be seen as one of Aussie death metal’s landmark events of 2022, but on first contact it seems outlandish and well, mad – but after repeated listens the sense this music makes is perfect. The vison and ambition here is only undermined by the slightly weak mix, which doesn’t give the music the impact it deserves, but anyone with ears to hear and an understanding of death metal will appreciate what the band are trying to achieve.

Similarly the portentous intro of superb standout track Decimation Hymn just falls flat when it needs to rouse and inspire, but this shouldn’t take away from the superior performances of all concerned. Pahl Hodgson‘s stygian utterances are a highlight throughout, and his guitar partnership with Jamie Whyte is probably hands down worth the price of admission alone, whilst the rhythm section of Simon O’Grady and Ross Duncan is as unforgiving and brutally efficient as any other currently doing the rounds in this style of sturm und drang; Every aspect of Abominations… reflects the skill and experience poured into it by these four men, even if the results don’t quite reward that skill and experience every time.

But whatever my reservations, this is certainly an album you should be slotting into your listening schedule if grandiose, bombastic death metal sets your pulse racing. Give it a go.

Abomination of the Flames is out now.