Thursday, January 7, 2016

Abbath : s/t

Immortal has been slugging it out longer than Queensryche over who owns the rights to their name leading guitarist and front man Abbath Doom Occulta decided to just release this album under his own name enlisting Creature aka Kevin Foley who is Benighted's drummer to pound along with Gorgoroth bassist King ov Hell. So a Immortal / Gorgoroth super group is what we are looking at here. It is though the material on this album are the songs that were written as the follow up to the 2009 full-length "All Shall Fall". From the intensity of the first song, I'm ok with the shift away from what I normally think of as the Immortal sound. The first song hits you so hard until you are not fully able to really take in the nuances of what is going on here. The second song "Winterbane" has more hints of the epic scale of black metal Immortal once made, but pounds ahead a little harder than they did on their 2009 album. I think King's input factors in on this. Midway into the song it becomes hard not to head bang along to the snare.

There is a rougher rasp to Abbath's vocals , they are less croaked, but you can still tell it's him. Much like his work with Immortal he is not afraid to use catchy riffs. At one point, he goes into a more sing song spoken vocal that comes close to singing on "Winterbane".  Not sure where Demonaz is falling in the wake of Immortal, is sister is married to Abbath, but I am unsure if he is continuing to write lyrics. They trash ahead with the double bass thunder that carries "Ashes of the Damned" . The first clean guitar tone creates a quick bridge, but there is less of the overt melodic leanings that Immortal had. It is clear to hear that Abbath was the thrash fan of the band. As the riffage has a similar jagged attack, but these guys are still for all practical purposes black metal. If Immortal is black metal then even with the big epic metal grooves this is black metal. Blast beats do not dominate this album and in fact are far and few between. The drummer proves a very creative to keep the intensity high, with out sorting to blinding blasts.

I haven't really keyed in on the lyrics , but have heard mention of warriors , so it's not far from the battle worlds of the Blizzard Beasts. "Count the Dead" has a rabid stomp to it, but has a steady pace that allows the vocals to make sense over it. You can always tell there is a purpose to the vocals rather than just screaming for the sake of having a human voice in the mix. The songs are really well written, which makes me a little afraid for the day when Immortal puts out an album without him. It will be much like Venom Inc vs Cronos. The blast beats do show up in "Count the Dead". So if you have to have them in your black metal don't worry. Abbath can actually shred I'm not sure if I didn't pay attention to the solos on Immortal albums , but he has some pretty tasty chops when he wants to flex them. Things start of at a Slayer pace and speed up from there on "Fenrir Hunts" .  This is my least favorite song on the album as it's just all about the speed. I prefer something more along the lines of "Root of the Mountain" where the chords ring out with majestic melody.  His croak lurks over the riff in a way that makes me think of what it might sound like if Watain covered "Captain Howdy". This one has a pretty solid throb to it's groove and even when it breaks down into the more thrashing gallop it only gets better.

The album ends with the blasting mania of "Eternal" which should silence any unbelievers to to if these guys are black metal. It's one of the fastest songs I have heard in some time, and pulled off better than most attempts at this sort of thing. It catches a thrash groove coming out of what might be the chorus, everything is going by at such a speed its hard to ascertain details like arrangements.I would not normally like something that was throw at you with such reckless abandon, but these guys do it well. Will this track get much rotation from me is another question. I think the album itself will. I'll round this one up to a 9.5 , just on the basis it captures this kind of aggression well and is the excellently executed, at the end of the day I'll have to see how these faster songs sit with me, but right now color my black heart impressed.

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