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Absolutely Incredible - 98%

Mercyful_kill1245, January 29th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2016, CD, Season of Mist (Digipak)

When Abbath left the legendary Immortal, I was heartbroken and quite sad. Immortal has been one of my favorite bands for years and has influenced me so much musically with his playing and songwriting. Luckily, as fate would have it, I would continue to get my fix in the form of Abbath's new self-titled band and holy shit does he deliver. From the first live track, Fenrir Hunts, to the full album, Abbath's solo project is absolutely incredible. That is enough on the background of the situation at hand, let's talk about the whole album.

As you can tell, Abbath is continuing in the musical direction that Immortal was headed. The black thrash combo is one of the best and Abbath is quite adept at making it. I will say that I absolutely hated the first riff on the album in the song To War! at first. It sounds so modern to me and I wondered if the album had more riffs like that. Luckily, after numerously listen to the album, I began to like the riff because it does groove very well and the double bass over it does make it sound like a march, much like the opening of the song. Anyway, right after that riff, To War becomes an amazing song full of speed, aggression and pretty decent lyrics. The drumming is blazing and compliments the guitar quite well. Also, on just a musicianship note, the drumming on this album is incredible with the precise, gut pounding snare and cymbal work and the precise double bass. It sucks that Creature, Aka Kevin Foley, won't be in the band anymore. Additionally, Ole André Farstad does a great job on the songs where he pulls leads. Of course, with almost all black metal solos, save Ice Dale, there is a good amount of slop thrown in there but, it fits well with the chaotic nature of the album. Lastly, King actually has some pretty cools bass lines like in Winterbane and Root of the Mountain. It is reminiscent of Bob Daisley bass lines from Blizzard of Oz with ascending bass lines and what sounds like slap bass.

Now, onto the music itself. From To War to Endless, the album is just incredible. Abbath sounds super into the music vocally, which is great considering that his vocals at times can sound bland and every song has a riff or two, in addition to the other great riffs, that makes you just go wow, that is insane. Back to the vocals briefly, Abbath is screaming like an animal into the mic. The closest comparison would probably be Sons of Northern Darkness. Moving to the actual structure, the album has many blazing fast songs in it such as To War! and Ashes of the Dammed but, along with those songs, it has a few just to tone it down a bit like Root of the Mountain and Ocean of Wounds. This provides great variety and keeps the listener coming back for me. Also, the album, like almost all black metal, has a very dark atmosphere around it. It has that signature feel, grit, and tone associated with black metal. However, the album's production is so well done that it is able to cut through the murkiness just enough so the album doesn't become inaudible and allow all parts of the band to be heard properly. Another high point in the album that I feel was often overlooked with Immortal is the epic nature of the songs. The lyrics are done quite well and parts in songs like Winterbane and Ocean of Wounds make the listener feel like as if he marching into battle, waiting to face death or glory. Or, he is on an epic journey, full of danger with many twists and turns. He can't talk about Blashyrhk anymore. So, he just went ahead and make songs about war and other aspects of winter.

The album ends in an unexpected way. Right after Endless, Riding on the Wind - a Judas Priest cover song - comes on, and while it's a cool enough song it's unusual to end an album with a cover song. have always hated when bands do this because I just don't see why you wouldn't end with your album with your own song. Luckily, the re-recording of the Immortal song, Nebular Ravens Winter, comes in and makes the album end on a perfect note. Why did he do this? Maybe to keep the song forever? Or, maybe he wanted to show to he is better? I really don't know but, it's quite good. In fact, it is probably better than the original piece. The production is better, Abbath sounds cooler, the drums are more hard hitting and it just sounds heavy, mainly due to the tone.

I do have a few complaints with the album, it lacks the cleans that I love in Immortal. Winterbane and Ashes have the only cleans on the album. They are really badass to listen to and Abbath is great at making cleans but, I just want more myself. It has a lot to do with the atmosphere surrounding his cleans. They are evil, dark, yet beautiful at the same time. They are so complex in how they are played and the album needs some more of these. Also, as stated above, while I like the covers, I would never end with them. I feel like it takes away from the music and makes the album end on someone else's work. My last complaint is kind of a dumb one but, I miss Abbath's solos. I know they are always out of key and sound questionable at times, however, they fit the music so well and I really enjoy them.

On a concluding note, the album is literally just a continuation of what Immortal was to be. Abbath should hit home with all the old Immortal fans that will take the time to listen to this album. I hope he continues with he is doing and I cannot wait to see what is next.

(Just for the mod, after heavy editing from the workshop and my friend, who is an English major, I feel like this is now satisfactory. Thanks for the help. Cheers)