Sunday, October 2, 2011

ABSU - Abzu CD review

ABSU - Abzu CD
Candlelight Records
Genre: Black Metal
Rating: 4/5

A few years ago while at an ABSU show I kinda lost my perspective on where I was at exactly. I took my eyes off the band to peer at the sparse crowd (a Tuesday night show which I was surprised to make) and noticed how everyone there looked like statues staring at the stage. Trust me these people were not your typical bunch of losers there doing the indie rock genuflect to a band they read about on a hipster site. These people (most of whom I know) were local diehards mesmerized at the performance they were witnessing. That was back in 2009 when ABSU toured in support of their self titled comeback release. The story which accompanied that self titled CD was drummer, lyricist and vocalist Proscriptor McGovern bringing ABSU back after a seven year absence albeit with a new line-up as well as the start of a new trilogy. For that night's performance ABSU peppered their set with various cuts old and new all fitting in with their mythological occult fascination.

Aside from what I thought of that particular release for the moment, I remember how it was treated harshly by other writers (in print as well as on the Interweb) for not being like their past releases preferably 2001's Tara. On the flip side were people praising this slab for it's prog elements and forward thinking take on Black Metal especially after the greatness of 2001's Tara. You know what the funny part of it all was? Not only did I doubt the validity of what these so-called critics were saying but I believe the first time they actually listened to the band was not 7 years before or 7 months but in reality it was 7 minutes after they received the promo material. Also anyone who mentioned the band's Tara release from 2001 in a review should be executed on the spot. I'm completely serious since Tara was part of a trilogy which you took in with the previous two releases as a whole. These so-called critics (who obviously never owned anything by ABSU) merely went back to their last release (which they listened to on Youtube) for guidance.

As far as my opinion about it went well I thought it was alright but we would have to wait until more of the trilogy unfolded. If history is to be our guide, Proscriptor will kick things up a notch and point the way to the third part. At least that's what he did in 1997and you can't learn that from listening to a song on Youtube. With all of those thoughts in mind I started listening to Abzu. I already knew the opening track "Earth Ripper" starts off with a bit of a SLAYER-esque mind-fuck courtesy of posting a preview of it weeks ago on here, along with the artwork. It's an annoying little thrash ditty which I considered bait for indie rock webfag losers. (I'm trying not to say 'hipster' as much because it confuses people on who I normally direct some dislike towards.) Once you get past it then the real essence of ABSU enters the picture. I'll be a spoiler and explain that Abzu is basically two pieces joined together. You have the first part which consists of the five tracks all relatively short by ABSU standards and then the finale which is almost fifteen minutes in length.

As I said the first cut sucks so for me the real beginning of the second Abyssic Trilogy starts off with "Circles of the Oath". Here is the band, which now features new guitarist Vis Crom (aka: Matt Moore formerly of Philly's RUMPELSTILTSKIN GRINDER), flowing into a mode which if you're a fan then you are familiar with it. The appropriate term would be a blackened fury hotter then a summer breeze in West Texas. I expect to hear this one performed live even though it ends with a keyboard and acoustic guitar outro, which is typical of their past works and is perfect for what follows. "Abraxas Connexus" actually jumps out at you after being put to rest with the closing of the last track. The song is a foundation piece which lays out a solid flat plane that floats upon the atmosphere which underlies most of the cuts on here. Songs just don't segue into one another but instead as a listener you must jump from one plane to the other as if they were stepping stones used to cross one side of a stream to the other. Also there's building procession from one song to the next as the harshness grows upon you. "Skrying in the Spirit Vision" is flat out brutal until "Ontologically, It Became Time & Space" hits you with some real blackened thrash.

All of this brings us to the finale "A Song for Ea" which could have easily been broken down into three separate pieces but where's the diabolical fun in that. To me this was an instant reminder of ABSU's epic past and now I expect this, no I demand that, "A Song for Ea" be the opening cut on this year's tour. I'm not suggesting they play just the first three minutes either. That's right open the show with an over fourteen minute song then anyone who leaves the viewing area gets whisked outside and is immediately executed. Be that as it may what I predicted back in 2009 has come true. This second piece of the trilogy points to the third at being a multi part epic masterpiece. But before we get to that one let's stay here because Abzu is a serious buzzsaw mind fuck. Worse yet it is fast at only around thirty seven minutes, of course that's if you include the horrible opener. Still with all of that said it's obvious that you won't have to wait long for part three. When that comes out we'll play all three back to back then the ground will erupt and a ancient Sumarian stature will emerge for all to worship.



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