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Music to fit the face - 92%

EzraBlumenfeld, January 24th, 2019

It's always interesting to hear the result when a black metal album has extremely high-quality production. It can sometimes succeed, as in the case of the gems among Behemoth's discography; but it also fails quite often, as best exemplified by Dimmu Borgir and Mayhem's new material. I find Abbath's eponymous debut to be a highlight among the well-produced black metal records.

Despite having departed from the legendary Immortal, guitarist and vocalist Abbath Doom Occulta clearly lost no faith in his ability to churn out high-quality music. He quickly put together a capable group of musicians and branded it with his own stage name, and they soon released their only album to date in 2016. While Abbath is by no means the coolest thing to ever happen to black metal, it certainly is a near-masterpiece of ferocity and raw power while also maintaining quality in both music and production.

The guitar parts themselves are naturally muddy, so it's a good thing the band opted for a clear tone so as to best show off the dark riffs. They truly sound heavy, and it seems that Abbath had no qualms about abandoning the rather confining standards of "trve" black metal. The drum parts are equally heavy, though quite authentic. Abbath's throaty, raspy growl caps it all off to make it truly sound evil.

If I had any complaint about Abbath, I would say it's a bit too short. With only eight songs plus two bonus covers, it doesn't exactly feel complete, especially in this day and age where a standard album can easily exceed ten tracks without seeming too lengthy. But overall, I think it's a quality album worthy of recognition; easily one of the most inspired black metal records of the past decade, I'm sure it will be remembered as a classic for many years to come.

Best songs: "Ocean of Wounds," "Count the Dead," and "Endless."