Friday, January 29, 2016

Abbath (by Akerblogger)

Album Review: Abbath - Abbath (2016)
Frost, ice, winter, and death: black metal for the ice hearted. Abbath's self-titled album is pretty straightforward: melodic thrashy riffs; a barrage of whirlwind sound; blasting drums. Yet, this conventionality is it's strongest and most powerful attribute; Abbath knows melody and the riff like the back of his frostbitten hand and years of writing has only honed the ice-precise structure of this album.
The first track, 'To War!', got me really excited, its sound a chaotic rampage of speedy riffs and snappy snarls, its intense barrage of sound like something from an Absu record, everything at breakneck speed. The drumming on this song and this album as a whole is one of its best features: Creature - also known as Kevin Foley of grind/death band Benighted - offers much more diversity and aggression than your conventional blast-beat repetitive format. With grind and much brutal death relying on nuanced and varied drumming, the drums here feels much more textured than your typical black-metal formula.
There is enough variety here to keep a listener interested: tempo changes and an acoustic interlude in the second track 'Winterbane'; heraldic trumpets and guitar solos in 'Ashes of the Damned'; vocals are more tortured, strained, and snarling vocals in 'Count the Dead'; 'Root of the Dead' is more plodding in pace, even groovy with the bass is jumping about like a lead - in fact the bass is really interesting throughout - King knows his stuff. This is an Abbath album but Abbath doesn't steal the spotlight one bit.
What made Immortal and I so popular were the riffs. And here there are riffs aplenty; they're persistently engrossing and consistently varied. What I like most is the intensity of the tracks here; there is a real thrash/speed energy that underpins the whole thing, and it doesn't lack heaviness thanks to the drumming. I think working with a new - or partly new - band members and maybe not feeling the weight of expectation that a new Immortal record would have had - has give Abbath an icy blast of creative rejuvenation, and although this is not at all groundbreaking or left-of-field, it's fun and thrashy, intense and lively, and there are some evil solos to! It owes a lot to that playful-buzz and excitement that the best thrash albums give, and it maintains that trademark, cartoonish corpse-paint and ice aesthetic.
Rating: 8.5/10
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