Label: Season Of Mist
Release Date: Januray 22nd
I don’t think that there’s a face more associated with Norwegian Black Metal, than that of Abbath. The infamous bass player and singer of long-lasting Immortal, with his cold rasping vocal sound and well known feats, has been, for a long time now, a “celebrity” in the Metal world.
I mean, hell, there was even a time when funny internet pictures and animations had Abbath star in ‘em. Hate him or love him, none can deny the huge impact this character had on the Metal scene for years, whether it’s on the musical level, imagery, or how it’s all perceived by the non-Metal masses.
Upon leaving Immortal for good (or not) and putting “I” on hold for now, Abbath turned to his own project, which is named, surprisingly enough, Abbath, and this is the debut. Also named Abbath.
Guess who the members are? Yes, Abbath. But not all by himself, King (from God Seed and ex-Gorgoroth) took on the role of bass player, while Creature (drummer of France-made Benighted) hits the drums.
The cover art is simple enough and it shows… well, Abbath.
“To War!” opens up like the name suggests and in a way that carves the path of the whole album; it’s wild, it’s angry, it has a bunch of oldies influences in it, such as Motorhead and Bathory too, but to top it all, the first tracks triumphs thanks to two main things – the brilliant song build which gives only a hint of Immortal, and the rasps of Abbath that makes this whole album feel at home.
The foot doesn’t let off the gas with “Winterbane”, that also incorporates some of the catchiest (if it’s even a word) riffs and passages that the brains behind the name ever thought of, and I found myself humming it for quite some time, and I’m not even mentioning the iron will that is needed not to bang your head wildly as the second track continues.
The quiet passages threw me a little back to At The Heart Of Winter times, as it’s impossible not to compare the atmosphere there to certain moments in Abbath’s debut, but the trio soon returns to their own niche, with “Ashes Of The Damned” being one of the fastest (and/or pissed off) songs in here, spanning on a short 3:50 minutes and delivering a hellish barrage of double bass and cold lengthy riffs, mixed with fitting vocals by the man with a thousand face expressions.
The album continues on and while tracks such as “Fenrir Hunts” or “Count The Dead” doesn’t add up anything more special than what the previous material already presented, it doesn’t feel like it’s dragging itself, but rather remains interesting enough through the whole package. Goes from fast-paced pieces like the above mentioned, to a much more melodic vibe, like “Root Of The Mountain”, that acts as the smarter, more calculated brother of everyone else in the album, dealing with a slow and heavy pace, but remains steady. A total contrast to the last song in the album, that is an all-out attack, faster than a corrupt politician running away with your money.
I guess the only real con with this album, is that it falls into the same formula again and again, and even though it sounds great, I’m not entirely sure it would hold on in the next release and I’m sure that everyone would also prefer to see more variety in Abbath’s tunes.
Speaking of money – go spend it on this album. Great stuff by a group of great artists, masterfully commanded by one of the most hardworking brains in the extreme Metal world. It’s worth it.
1. To War!
3. Ashes Of The Damned
4. Ocean Of Wounds
5. Count The Dead
6. Fenrir Hunts
7. Root Of The Mountain