on 15 March 2009
Before I start I should make it clear that this is amazing! However, I am not really sure how to review this album to be honest. Even though the line up has completely changed since Tara the album is definitely Absu. The new guitarist adds some amazing riffing / shredding and there is some amazing interplay with the drums - it is in fact impossible to describe how amazing this sounds. It sounds like the instruments are all duelling with eachother. The drums, vocals and riffs all interplay with eachother and then suddenly they will stop the music from breakneck pace and then restart with some other totally different timing. It is amazing and gives the music a very jagged and chaotic sound. Onto the lyrics, if you read them you will also see how much craft and thought the band have put into the writing. Again the delivery of the vocals fits perfectly with the drum / guitar duelling. I think Absu has a distinct advantage over their peers because as Prosciptor does both the drumming and vocals they are timed to perfection.
Proscriptor again confirms he is extreme musics top drummer by a mile. If you like your drumming fast and technical then you need this album, it is jawdropping what he does. On top of that he also does the voices! Vocals on this album vary between black and deathmetal ones. Absu describe themselves as Mythological Occult Metal and this fits as they sound unlike anything else you will hear. This is actually an unique mix of black / thrash / death metal with a progressive twist and yes the music is as complex as this sounds.
Another point to note is that the album production is very good. Unlike Tara the bass is not lost in the mix and so credit also to the new bassist. I felt that Tara did lack some bass oomph! This album doesn't. Also unlike Tara, this album varies its assault on the ears which means that for me it is not quite as intense and it does vary the pace of song and it does even have one or two more ambient keyboard section (though not many). This judgement is of course relative, in comparision to most other bands it is blistering and very intense.
I am sorry I have not even tried to review the individual songs as I will not do any justice to the album whatsoever. I just cannot explain how amazing and awesome this album is. If you are a fan of extreme metal and enjoy black / death metal style vocals you should get this. It is far more than extreme metal it is technically superb and the band sit in a genre of their own.
on 4 March 2009
You know, 2009 has only just begun and its already shaping up to be a great year for metal. There's been great new albums from Suidakra, Mastodon, Blut Aus Nord, Kreator and Napalm Death while some heavy hitters like Slayer, Wintersun and Iron Maiden have promised new albums this year. Following this tread of great albums Absu, probably the only black metal band of any merit to hail from North Amercia, have finally returned after some 8 years in limbo to give us the follow up the the acclaimed 'Tara'.
'Tara' is one of my favourite extreme metal albums of all time, and Absu's self titled album picks up where it left off by giving us another slice of their self-styled 'mythological occult metal'. For those of you unfamiliar with the band, they play a really aggressive and blindingly fast if not overly heavy combination of black metal (think Norwegian 2nd wave) and technical thrash metal with a huge smattering of prog and a pinch of classic heavy metal. If you put Immortal, Slayer, Rush and perhaps a dram of Ronnie James Dio in a blender this might be the aural equivilent of the outcome. The resulting sound is stunning; chaotic yet precise; aggressive yet controlled, shifting from bewildering riff fests and terminal velocity drumming to Sabbath worthy grooves and anthemic gallops in the blink of an eye. The band show wear their black metal roots on their sleeves in form of the nails-on-chalkboard vocals, blast happy drumming and the speedy riffing. However, Absu doesn't really carry the coldness or isolation of black metal, and the general atmoshpere of procedings given of by the scales and chord progressions is much more reminiscient of the spikes-leather-bullets feel of thrash and early death metal (think Possessed or 'Hell Awaits' by Slayer). All bound together by the frighteningly capable drumming of band leader and drumming virtuoso Proscriptor, who is quite possibly the best drummer you've heard this side of Nile. His fills, blast beats, double bass, off-syncopated beats and intricatly technical time changes make this album, like 'Tara', very special. He needs to be heard to be believed. This is after all, according to internet rumour, the man who was rejected by Slayer for being just to damn fast and hard. Give this CD a blast and its not hard to believe!
'Absu' (the album) is not massivly different from Tara and retains many of its characteristic elements, but there are a few notable changes. For one, the vocals are alot beefier (Proscriptor sounds positivly meanacing in comparison to his okay performance on 'Tara' which often sounded like a cartoon bad guy)and over all the music shows a bit more muscle with heavier riffs and benefiting greatly from a more powerful production and sound. Yet, at the same time this is also some of Absu's most melodic work, with some strong melodies and occasional guitar harmonies. We also find a substantial keyboard presence on 'Absu', but don't worry friends because the band aren't jumping on any neoclassical/finnish bandwagons here. Keys are used for texture and atmosphere to give a creepy, horror film edge that fits like a glove with the occult/mystical lyrics. And, as always, I was as happy as a fat kid in a cake store when my ears were greated with a number of high octane solos, much more then on Tara!
However, I do have a few small and very negligiable issues with 'Absu'. for one, the songs don't seem to flow as perfectly as they did on 'Tara', which unfolds like one big epic story. Sometimes songs on 'Absu' feel a bit disjointed. Secondly, 'Tara' was more intense while 'Absu' is more technical and complex, and sometimes I feel like a spoiled brat and want them both. Still, infinitesimally tiny criticisms for a wonderful new album from a band that has a prominant place in my book.
It may have been close to a decade of waiting for Absu fans, but the band has done it again! Despite many line up changes, the band has succeded in bringing us a album that stays true to their earlier works but also provides the much needed progression and enough new ideas to stop this being 'Tara' - part II. If you loved 'Tara' you will love 'Absu', and if your looking to get into the band I can't think of a better place to start. Beacuse Absu cover such a wide variety of ground in their songwriting, fans of most extreme metals sub genres would do well to pick up a copy. I'd even be so bold as to suggest that fans of thrash and proggresive metal might well find their heads bobbing along to 'Absu' if they can tolerate the vocals.
P.s. if you haven't noticed I absu-lutly love Tara and recommend you get it as well..
on 18 February 2009
This album is just pure quality without a single filler track,the whole disc is top class.I,d never really heard of the group until recently when I heard the song Between The Absu Of Eridu And Erech on the Fear Candy free cd from Terrorizer magazine and I had to hear more!If you buy one disc this year then make it this one you will not be disappointed it is pure metal by a band at the apex of the genre.