The end of the black metal legends Immortal in 2015 was a sad affair especially under the circumstances (court cases over the rights to the name) but out of the ashes of one band rises another. Joined by King Ov Hell (God Seed) Abbath’s debut album is a storming slice of black metal goodness.
To War starts things off well, heavy as hell but with bags of rhythm it twists & turns like a pair of greased up snakes before the legend’s vocals break things up. Instantly recognisable Abbath has growls & roars to rival any black metal vocalist but it works in conjunction with the music rather than over-powering it.
Winterbane has some of the best melodies on the entire album with flashes of pure aggression & heaviness that will be so impressive in a live environment. Abbath doesn’t just chill your bones with his vocals but will send shivers up your spine with riffs that are almost primal.
One of the reasons Immortal were so beloved was the ability to break free of the shackles that often holds a lot of black metal bands down. Abbath continues this here with moments that surprise & excite at the same time. Ashes of the Damned might seem a ‘by the numbers’ black metal song (a damn good one) at first but has sudden flashes that really take you surprise. At first I wasn’t sure I liked it but on numerous listens it really is something spectacular.
Abbath has very few low points & my biggest complaint is that a few songs blend into each other sounding somewhat similar. Fenir Hunts in particular is unspectacular by the rest of the albums standard. Coming at the latter end of the album the worry might creep in that the album is sliding but Roots of the Mountain brings things roaring back.
One of the best songs on the album, its heaviness is only matched by the darkened lyrics & Abbath’s growling vocals. A mid-song change in beat lifts things even higher & never dips again from this point.
At only 8 tracks long (with 2 bonus tracks on special editions) it is over far too quickly but on this showing the band has a very bright future. Comparisons to Immortal are inevitable but the album proves that the name isn’t going to hold Abbath back.
1. To War!
3. Ashes of the Damned
4. Ocean of Wounds
5. Count the Dead
6. Fenrir Hunts
7. Root of the Mountain
9. Riding on the Wind (Judas Priest Cover)
10. Nebular Ravens Winter (Immortal Cover)
Abbath - Abbath (Season of Mist)