“We Lead The Procession” is more of an anthology than anything else, as it compiles not “hit songs” from the band’s career and binds not several tracks from several albums, but rather gathers under one sonic roof the band’s most obscure and unknown tracks — some of which likely to had gotten a proper professional treatment for the very first time — spanning more than a decade of creativity that portray the band’s arguable evolution throughout all these dark years. Some of the stuff is pretty old material, mostly derived from demos and rehearsal tapes, re-recorded some years later; there’s a couple of cover songs (Bathory and Paul Chain / Death SS original tracks), one track recorded during a live show and a video clip, which is also the newest of the crop (produced in 2013). Any fan of this phenomenal band will know what to expect: dark, religious sounding heavy metal with the most depraved atmosphere, an exquisite musicianship manifested by sinister church organs, unique, semi-clean deep vocals and catchiness galore. What most of you won’t expect is a more dynamic band venturing away from their doom-laden gothica into the thrash-oriented metal realms. The Abysmal Grief one would meet on “We Lead The Procession” is a slightly different beast of prey; more thrashing and streamlined with the heavier and faster facets of heavy metal. The mildly underground sound of the apparently under-produced tracks gives the music an additional dimension of mystery and god-awfulness. But Abysmal Griefs music is not production-dependent; their compositions sound perfect either way. Their skill lies first and foremost in their genuine know-how of the art of songwriting. They set that perfect central riff, which they repeat throughout each track, around which they coil their ghoulish keyboards, their frontman’s black-hole vocals and the entire rhythm section. The music is pretty basic, but the culmination of all elements into one undivided sonic entity of dread and impenetrable, tangible darkness — results in perfect songs among which are some of the most spiritual, sinister and enjoyable moments heavy metal has ever bestowed upon us. The style and sound of Abysmal Grief, beyond its spectacular inherent sombre beauty, is also quite singular. If you happen to like the occult Italian sound of Monumentum, Cultus Sanguine, early Mortuary Drape, or the works of The Coffinshakers and especially Tristitia’s masterwork “Crucidiction”, you’ll find everything you love and adore in regard to that unique sound right here, as you would in any other Abysmal Grief recording. Remember the name of that phenomenal dark entity; they lead the procession, indeed!
1. Open Sepulchre-2008 re-recording
2. Fear Of Profanation-2003 re-recording
3. Raise The Dead-Bathory cover
4. Exsequia Occulta-live 2006
5. Procession-unreleased 1999 recording
6. Bara-unreleased 1998 rehearsal track
7. Profanation-Death SS cover
8. Mors Eleison-2008 rehearsal version
9. Sinister Gleams-video.