Album Review – Abigail / The Final Damnation (2016)

Delivering chaos, sex and blasphemy for over 20 years, one of the most prominent bands from the underground Japanese scene strikes back with more of their libertine and devilish music.

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abigail-the-final-damnation-coverWhenever the name “Abigail” is enunciated, your mind probably takes you to Denmark, home of one of the most iconic metallers of all time, the one and only King Diamond. However, if you travel further east, more specifically to Japan, the Land of the Rising Sun, you’ll face a high-octane fusion of Black, Thrash and Heavy Metal from the 80’s with a libidinous twist through the music by an uncompromising power trio known as Abigail, who have recently released their fifth studio album, titled The Final Damnation, highly recommended for fans of bands like Venom, Bulldozer and Carnivore who also nurture a profound admiration for topics such as war, alcohol, partying, depravity and bitches.

Abigail, who have dubbed themselves as “The Most Evil Band in Japan”, was formed in 1992 in the city of Tokyo, Japan by Yasuyuki Suzuki, a talented multi-instrumentalist and one of the most important names in the underground extreme music scene in Japan, having played with bands such as Cut Throat, Barbatos, Tiger Junkies and the iconic Sigh, from our beloved metal chick Dr. Mikannibal. Their musicality might have shifted a bit from their earliest raw Black Metal to a more complex degree of Speed Metal mixed with Street Punk (a mixture classified by the band as “Street Metal”), also increasing the level of debauchery and blasphemy in their lyrics. With The Final Damnation, which features an obscure artwork by French artist Christophe Moyen, the band has considerably increased the dosage of Black Metal in their music, going back to their roots without losing their current thrashy attitude and electricity.

abigail-band-promoFrantic guitars and drums with a strong melody supporting them set the tone for the berserk title-track The Final Damnation, before Yasuyuki begins firing his inebriate gnarls. In essence, it’s music to drink and fight, exactly what the band wants you to do, boosted by all old school guitar solos Noboru “Jero” Sakuma delivers throughout the whole song. Blasphemy Night is insanity in the form of music, a bestial marriage between Black and Thrash Metal with nuances of Hardcore and Punk Rock where Yasuyuki sounds truly demonic on vocals while drummer Youhei shows no mercy for mankind, obviously commanding us all to slam into the fuckin’ pit, followed by a massacre titled Whisky Coke and Bitch. I guess nothing needs to be said about the name of the song, right? Anyway, Jero continues delivering his traditional solos in this less obscure chant, strongly inspired by the rebellious Punk Rock played by bands such as The Exploited and Black Flag.

In spite of its slower-than-usual start, the deranged composition Sex & Metal (another song with a “cute” name) is sheer devastation throughout its almost 6 minutes, with Yasuyuki and his henchmen smashing everyone who dares to cross their path, also exhibiting more of their insane high-speed guitar solos. And the gates are opened by Abigail’s infernal composition straightforwardly named Open the Gates of Hell, displaying a sonority highly inspired by Thrash Metal from the 80’s with an eccentric Japanese touch. In addition, the bass guitar by Yasuyuki sounds amazingly brutal in this hurricane of disturbing metal. Blazing guitar lines ignite the thrashy composition No Pain! No Limit!, showcasing backing vocals a la traditional Punk Rock while Youhei delivers precisely what we all want in this type of music by pounding his drums like a wild beast during the entire song.

The pulverizing hymn Sweet Baby Metal Sluts doesn’t only have another gentle name, but the screeching gnarls by Yasuyuki will torment your mind while the band keeps discharging their libidinous music through your ears, with Jero continuing his feast of demented solos. And closing the album, how about 7 minutes of total anarchy? That’s what you’ll get in Holocaust by Evil with its Slayer-like guitars and extreme aggressiveness. Youhei pays his personal tribute to Thrash and Black Metal, and although there’s a melodic break influenced by traditional Heavy Metal after around two minutes, Abigail had to obviously finish off the album like a steamroller from hell with their lunatic musicality. Before all is said and done, Yasuyuki fires some final grasps from the depths of hell to give the whole song a more macabre touch.

As aforementioned, if you truly consider Heavy Metal, sex, alcohol and blasphemy as the most important things in your life (and you should), the music by Abigail will definitely be the perfect soundtrack for your metallic and carnal adventures. And in case you want to show your support for those Japanese metallers, go grab your copy of The Final Damnation at the Nuclear War Now! Productions’ BandCamp or at their webstore as a CDa regular LP or as a “die hard” LP, or at Abigail’s official webstore. Abigail have been on fire since their inception almost 20 years ago, and The Final Damnation is just another proof this defiant troop from Tokyo is far from calling it a day.

Best moments of the album: Blasphemy Night, Sex & Metal and Open the Gates of Hell.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Nuclear War Now! Productions

Track listing
1. The Final Damnation 4:32
2. Blasphemy Night 3:55
3. Whisky Coke and Bitch 4:50
4. Sex & Metal 5:50
5. Open the Gates of Hell 3:57
6. No Pain! No Limit! 3:04
7. Sweet Baby Metal Sluts 3:22
8. Holocaust by Evil 7:08

Band members
Yasuyuki Suzuki – vocals, bass
Noboru “Jero” Sakuma – guitars
Youhei – drums

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Metal Chick of the Month – Dr. Mikannibal

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I Live You Die… Your Life Is Mine.

If you have never, ever in your entire life heard or seen anything about the jaw-dropping, unusual and skillful Japanese goddess Dr. Mikannibal, the saxophonist and also one of the lead singers of Japanese Black/Avant-garde Metal band Sigh, you have no idea of what you’re missing. Furthermore, nothing that you will read here is fake or made-up: Dr. Mikannibal is indeed a unique performer, and I dare you to find another woman so off-the-wall in music, even in the weird realms of Industrial, Gothic and especially Black Metal. For instance, she loves to record topless, has the odd habit of eating bugs and also enjoys drinking blood. Do I need to say more?

Our electrifying Asian bombshell, whose real name is Mika, was born on January 23 in the city of Sendai-shi (also known as “The City of Trees”) in Miyagi, Japan, located around 350km from the capital Tokyo. Dr. Mikannibal is in a long-term relationship with Sigh’s multi-instrumentalist Mirai Kawashima, and although she suffered a miscarriage three months into pregnancy in 2013, in April 2014 she took the stage of Inferno Metal Festival in Oslo, Norway with “Baby’s In Here” written on her belly. I wasn’t able to find anything online about her pregnancy after that, so let’s hope that Mika and Mirai had a beautiful and healthy baby together (which is probably what happened) and are now enjoying their parenthood to the sound of heavy music.

Named one of the “Sexiest Women in Metal” by Revolver Magazine, the title of Doctor added to her stage moniker is far from being jest, as she actually has a Ph.D. in Physics and still finds time to work as a scientist at her home in Florida, where she has been living for the past few years. Moreover, as expected from any person that’s at the same time a scientist and a black metaller, Dr. Mikannibal is an atheist (as well as Mirai) and whenever the band sings about hell she said in one of her interviews there’s no religious meaning behind it. It’s simply a representation of human beings going through hell, describing those scenes through their music.

In regards to her music career, Dr. Mikannibal has been playing saxophone since she was 12, being able to play the alto, tenor and baritone sax. She mentioned all are basically the same and she does that to add more power to her music, although it’s more difficult than playing just the alto sax, of course. However, it wasn’t until she joined Sigh that she took her saxophone skills to the studio and on stage at a professional level. Before joining Sigh she only did vocals for different metal bands, starting with indie Japanese Melodic Death Metal band 29Jaguar, with whom she recorded the demo 29Anger in 2005, and Japanese Melodic Thrash/Death Metal band Providence.

Dr. Mikannibal joined Sigh back in 2007, having already recorded with the band the following albums: A Tribute to Venom EP (2008), Scenes from Hell (2010), The Curse of Izanagi EP (2010), the split album Swine of Hades (2011), and more recently In Somniphobia (2012) and Graveward (2015). From all those releases, the only one where our metal goddess did not play her wicked saxophone was A Tribute to Venom EP, but anyway you can enjoy her devilish vocals in their cover versions for the Black Metal classics Countess Bathory, Black Metal and Witching Hour. If you want to take a listen at her skills as both the vocalist and saxophonist of Sigh, a few suggested songs are The Transfiguration Fear and Far Beneath The In-Between and Kaedit Nos Pestis. Lastly, after joining Sigh, she recorded sax and vocals in the 2012 album Worms in the Keys by international Avant-garde Rock/Metal project Self Spiller, and was also a guest saxophonist on track Boiled In Hell Broth & Grave Dust (Intro), from the 2010 album The Murder of Jesus the Jew by British Experimental Black Metal band The Meads of Asphodel, and on A Hollow Bridge, from the album Mapping the Moment with the Logic of Dreams by Romanian Progressive Black Metal band Bloodway. Apart from her career as a musician, Dr. Mikannibal has also ventured in the world of journalism, as for example her interview with At The Gates vocalist Tomas Lindberg in Tokyo, Japan on August 5, 2013 for the Metal Moment podcast.

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Nonetheless, it’s on stage that our sexy doctor really stands out with her lunatic vocals and ferocious saxophone playing, her skimpy lingerie, skirts and dresses, and of course her infamous hot wax bath. Yes, that’s exactly what you have in your mind right now: a provocative Asian girl dripping hot wax from candles all over her attractive body. Check these two videos on YouTube where you’ll be able to see how wild she’s when performing live, the first playing the song The Soul Grave at the Roadburn Festival in Tilburg, Netherlands in 2013, and the second showing you her hot wax bath in Taipei, Taiwan in 2012. Isn’t she adorable?

But wait, there’s still a lot more to talk about our fearless diva: because she loves her pet lizards (or geckos) and was really curious as to what they eat, she started to gather more details on bug eating, attended a “bug eating party”, learned how to cook roaches and other bugs properly and voilà! There you have a sexy bug-eater woman! Oddly enough, Dr. Mikannibal explained everything she does is not meant to attract the attention of anyone. “Some people in Japan traditionally eat grasshoppers. In the north part of Japan, they eat bugs. Eating roaches is not common in Japan, but it’s not a made-up story to get attention. It’s just something I do.”, she said in one of her interviews.

Obviously, a woman like that who wears such revealing see-through outfits in front of thousands of people has to be very comfortable with her body and appearance. She accepts and embraces the idea of being a sex symbol, although such distinction is not one of her main goals in her career. Not only that, when our gorgeous Nipponese lady is about to record anything new at home or in the studio, she does that topless (yes, topless!), simply due to the fact that she feels a lot more comfortable that way as she hates sweating a lot. She mentioned once the first thing she does when she arrives home is taking off her clothes, saying that’s something very natural and pleasant for her. Well, I guess there are lots of people who would love to attend the recording sessions by Sigh and be face-to-face in the studio with Dr. Mikannibal, one of the most remarkable women in contemporary Extreme Metal.

Dr. Mikannibal’s Official Facebook page
Dr. Mikannibal’s Official Twitter
Sigh’s Official Facebook page
Sigh’s Official Twitter 

“I do wear sexy costumes, and I wear less clothes than other metal chicks do in other bands. It’s not intentional. I don’t do it to try and get attention from men. I just wear what I wear because I like it. I love myself, my looks and my body, and I like to show it off on stage. That’s the whole idea.”  – Dr. Mikannibal