Sumerian mythology and the work of HP Lovecraft are heavily revered in the extreme metal section. From Metallica (okay, that’s not extreme metal, besides from being extremely boring metal) to Morbid Angel, pretty much every band has dabbled with the old tales in some way or another. None take it quite as far as Proscriptor McGovern and his mates in Absu. After an absence of two years the band returns in style with their latest record, entitled “Abzu”.
Absu’s trademark venomous combination of black metal and thrash metal comes in with sweeping vengeance on ‘Earth Ripper’, Halford-styled screams included. ‘Circles Of The Oath’ and ‘Skying In The Spirit Vision’ are also two utterly face-ripping blackened thrash metal gems. However, the Absu gents have more tricks up their sleeve and that’s exactly what sets them apart from the rest. First of all, McGovern and Co. know how to write really intelligent and well-constructed songs. Secondly, through adding lots of small details they give the album lots of depth. Thirdly, McGovern’s intense and technical drumming style is the proverbial icing on the Absu cake.
By far the most ambitious songs on the album, is the fourteen minute long ‘A Song For Ea’. It consists of multiple parts, giving “Abzu” an almost progressive metal styled grandeur. It’s not like Absu has anything in common with Dream Theater or Opeth for instance, but it’s refreshing to that McGovern and Co. aren’t afraid to look past genre boundaries for inspiration. The thought-provoking themes add another layer of depth and mysticism to the album.
The sound of “Abzu” is clear, but rather thin. It does add to the overall black metal vibe, but a little bit more meat on the bones wouldn’t have hurt in my opinion.
“Abzu” by Absu marks the triumphant return of one the best bands in the blackened thrash metal genre. The album is intense, forward thinking and highly original. Just the way I like my (extreme) metal.