The Abbey is a new five-piece Finnish band comprised of founder Jesse Heikkinen (Henget, Iterum Nata, Benighted in Sodom) on guitar, keyboards, percussions, and vocals, Natalie Koskinen (Shape of Despair) on vocals, Vesa Ranta (ex-Sentenced) on drums, Janne Markus (The Man-Eating Tree, Poisonblack) on guitars, and Henri Arvola on bass. The Abbey was named after the Abbey of Thelema, a spiritual center used by the occultist Aleister Crowley. “Word of Sin” is their debut album, which was released in mid-February 2023, via Season of Mist.
Musically, The Abbey can be described as an amalgam of traditional doom metal, gothic metal, occult, atmospheric, and a few prog rock/metal elements. The final outcome is rather intriguing and eccentric, with occult, gloomy, and esoteric vibes dominating the overall sound. “Rat King” has an atmospheric heavy rock 70s approach. Then again, “Starless” is a slow, doomy atmospheric and eerie track, while “Desert Temple” is more up-tempo and straightforward with 70s prog rock and doom references. Furthermore, “Widow’s Will” is an amazing dark doom/gothic song that will appeal to the vast majority of the listeners. It reminded me of Paradise Lost and Katatonia from the late 90s and early 00s. “Old Ones”, along with the prequel, closes the album in a grandiose way. None of the songs sound similar to each other, yet they all fit together perfectly, without losing their profound esoteric atmosphere. The band manages to showcase their creativity by presenting a different shade of their sound in every song. The vocal lines are also well-written, well-executed, and effective in expressing the idea. The album’s lyrics dig into the beliefs and practices of mystical societies, with an esoteric inspiration drawn from occult spiritual and social philosophy.
The drums, the bass and Markus’ guitars were tracked at Kratio Studio in Oulu by Kyösti Rautio, who also served as co-producer and mixed the album. The production is full and clean in general. It does have a vintage sound at times, particularly on the guitars, which I’d prefer to be heavier overall, but that’s another story.
The Abbey has proven that they are a band to watch in the years to come. “Word of Sin” is a terrific debut album that sets the high bar for the band’s future releases. This album will undoubtedly appeal to the devotees of dark, moody, and atmospheric music.