When Abdullah added Keelhaul growler/ bassist Aaron Dallison and Boulder frontman Jaime Walters to its lineup -- after recruiting crack bassist Ed Stephens last year -- it became more than a local metal supergroup: It became a functioning band for the first time. Originally launched as a two-piece, Abdullah is beginning to reap the benefits of full membership.
"When we started off, it was so hard finding musicians in this area that were into this style of music, because it seemed like anyone who wanted to do heavy music still wanted to do the death-metal thing," frontman Jeff Shirilla explains. "In the beginning, it was sort of out of desperation that me and Alan [Seibert, guitarist] recorded stuff by ourselves. As cool as that was, just to get the stuff out there, at the same time, it limited the feel of the band. I listen to the first album, and it definitely has that project-band feel. With Graveyard Poetry, it's a little bit better, but with the new stuff, you can hear an actual band."
The new stuff is a smoking five-song demo that weds Abdullah's epic doom with much more concise, straight-for-the-jugular songs that seethe with punk energy. "With this new one, we're trying to mix not only different styles of metal, but different styles of rock in general," Shirilla explains. "A lot of the new songs have more of a punk feel. Along with that, we've kind of gone for a more aggressive guitar tone -- not really death metal, but it kind of reminds me of later Entombed albums."
That aggression is palpable on most of the new cuts, particularly the crusty blitz of "Bones and Ashes," which sounds like Discharge on a bad day. The demo ends with a cover of the Misfits' "Hybrid Moments." With nine songs already in the can, Abdullah will start shopping its new material to labels in January and hopes to have its third album out by summer. "We're trying to open the doors, bridge the gap, and just kind of put anything on the table," Shirilla says. "All of us are into so many diverse, different things, this time we're throwing the rule book out the window."