Into the ABYSS (OF HEL): A Studio Report

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Huge thanks to for the amazing pictures!

Victor Hugo once said, „Music expresses that which cannot be said and about which it is impossible to be silent“. As accurate as I find this statement, however, it leaves open the question of how one ends up with the finished music in the first place. Fortunately, there are a couple of people in my life who always give me the opportunity to accompany them in their work. To let you guys out there share in these opportunities a bit, I thought I should put it in writing! 

But which music project exactly are we talking about now? Easy: It’s about ABYSS OF HEL, the solo project of Daniel Stromayer, who might be known to some from his time with THRUDVANGAR. This project found its way into reality in the EMPERIAL SOUND Studio of Lars Rettkowitz

Musically we find ourselves in a style pot-purri between Black, Death and Industrial Metal. In places it feels like a very strange, but nevertheless working mixture of FEAR FACTORY and BELPHEGOR.

Pic by (c) 2023

The production day actually began quite unspectacularly: Daniel first had to sing himself in. A funny sounding, but all the more serious requirement to guarantee the success of today’s studio time. If you don’t sing yourself in, or don’t sing yourself in properly, you risk significant damage to your vocal cords. It is therefore essential that this warm-up action be undertaken with great care. 

I’m not a musician myself and don’t really know about the technical intricacies, but rest assured: a tape of nothing but warm-up exercises by singers just before their studio time would be an absolute comedic highlight!

But all kidding aside! As briefly hinted at above, it’s hard to put ABYSS OF HEL into any genre category. What usually bothers me a lot (I mean, get it together!), works here in a very innovative way. Deep despair and melancholic feelings in the lyrics meet dark and evil instrumentation. Especially the guitars push the listener before themselves. This is accompanied by a brilliant sequence of growls and clean vocals. 

When Daniel played me the demos at the time, I really liked it. But in the right production the songs really convinced me completely. The sheer authenticity inherent in each song makes these songs so approachable, like you rarely experience in metal.

We all know that vocals are essential for a good song. But it’s all the more difficult to maintain the stringency in the voice when you have to sing the same part over and over and over again until it meets the producer’s requirements. The existentialist elements of the songs have to be worked out precisely. In the production process, therefore, there is rarely a lack of curious instructions that arise from the situation. But the classic of the day during the ABYSS OF HEL production was definitely „This has to be a cramped up ‚Why‘!“

Pic by (c) 2023

At this point, you might even think that all you have to do is follow the producer’s instructions to get a good song out of it. That’s not the case at all! While you are out there listening to a song more or less on the side via stream, the artist and his producer are standing in the studio for hours discussing inconspicuous nuances. Daniel, like Lars, is a perfectionist. Every semitone is tweaked here, every note refined and corrected. The correction process can seem pedantic and sometimes boring, but it helps the artist get everything out of the song.

The end result, currently to be heard for example in the song Devolution, has me really floored! These are sound worlds that you actually have to hear instead of being described, because any references fail here. The lyrics reflect a dark view of one’s own psyche, in which I was very happily getting lost. In combination with the guitars, it’s completely different from anything I’ve ever heard. 

Long story short: When you think you have seen and heard everything, something new comes around the corner again! In this case it was Daniel with ABYSS OF HEL

This project has the potential to shake up the metal scene massively and put its own stamp on it. I look forward to what is awaiting us!

Pic by (c) 2023

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