Abbath – Abbath

27 02 2016

Note: This review was originally written for Exclaim! It was edited down and rearranged there, so I thought I would share my original article here instead. The alternative version can be found here: http://exclaim.ca/music/article/abbath-abbath

With the legal battle over rights to Immortal’s band namabbathabbathe officially in the past, fans – depending of course on which side of the fence they’re on – finally have something to rejoice about. Still donning his signature corpse paint, Abbath has returned from a six year musical drought with an impressive self-titled debut. Expanding on Immortal’s black metal blueprint, his solo material ups the ante with elements of thrash, death metal and classic rock.

The opening track “To War!” sets the tone with a thundering gallop, making it abundantly clear that Abbath means business. Thematically, it almost feels like a call to arms – a battle cry that echoes through the entire album. There are piles of stand-out moments throughout, including a horn section that punctuates brightly through the heavier elements in “Ashes of the Damned” and a foreboding acoustic interjection in the otherwise riff-heavy “Winterbane”. Bassist King (Gorgoroth, Ov Hell) adds some evil personality into the tracks, contributing some truly meaty bass runs while drummer Creature (aka Kevin Foley) thrashes and blasts with technical precision. Even the front man’s recognizable croak sounds more menacing than it does amusing, and while you might expect a certain level of cheesiness, you won’t find much here.

The journey may have been treacherous, but this time Abbath has emerged unscathed. He’s proven that he doesn’t need the Immortal name to expand his black metal legacy – all he needs is a little help from his friends.

Available now on Season of Mist.

Stream the album here: https://abbath.bandcamp.com/

 

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