Swedish black metal group Abruptum is predominantly the work of a duo, the ubiquitously named It (screams, violin, drums) and Evil (guitars, sounds, piano), with occasional bit players rounding out the lineup as necessary. Responsible for what is quite simply among the most extreme heavy metal ever attempted, the group's "music" has stumped many an experienced metal head with its brutal devotion to sheer noise.

Formed in the late '80s by It, the concept of Abruptum took shape over a couple of 1990 demos (Abruptum and The Satanist Tunes), which were recorded by an ever shifting lineup including early mainstays All (vocals) and EXT (bass). Both would exit with the arrival of Evil, who joined in time for 1991's imaginatively named Evil EP and Orchestra of Dark demo. Gaining quick acceptance within the all-important underground tape-trading community, Abruptum's tortured black metal fury coupled with It's desperately shrill vocal delivery soon attracted the attention of Scandinavia's extreme metal godfather Euronymous; who issued their debut 1993 LP Obscuritatem Advoco Amplectere Me through his Deathlike Silence imprint. A daunting exercise in raw, seemingly improvised aggression spliced with atmospheric sound effects, the album (containing a single song split into two 20-plus minute halves) served up a challenging, nearly impenetrable sonic avalanche. Possibly even more extreme was 1994's In Umbra Malitae Ambulabo, In Aeternum In Triumpho Tenebrarum, whose epic aspirations mirrored its extensive title; but which proved to be one of the last releases by their label, which folded following Euronymous' grisly murder that same year. Fittingly, Abruptum provided the lead-off track for 1995's Euronymous tribute album entitled Nordic Black Metal (also featuring the likes of Emperor and Marduk), then decided to take an extended break before resuming their career. Finally signing with the Head Not Found label in 1997, they unleashed their ambitious third effort, Vi Sonas Veris Nigrae Malitiaes; boasting another single, 60-minute black metal cacophony/symphony. Losing creative steam by this time, the band remained silent until the year 2000, when they released the odds-and-sods EP De Profundis Mors Vas Cousumet. ~ Eduardo Rivadavia

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