Full Length, Candlelight Records
October 12th, 2011
Genre: Blackened Thrash/Black Metal
Abzu was flying low on my radar for most of the year despite the fact I'm a big Absu fan. I believe this is the second in a 'trilogy', the next being Apsu, and it also might be their first album where Kris Verwimp did not make the cover. The last album wasn't terrible but it felt a little bland and unfocused to me; even with Proscriptor leading everything, Shafteil and Equitant leaving definitely had an impact on song writing. Also following an album like Tara is difficult regardless of all the injuries and line-up changes. So I was a bit apprehensive when I read about their newest record. Fortunately my fears were not confirmed. Abzu is a little different from their previous work but very enjoyable all the way through, and a bit on the short side for an Absu release (35 minutes, 6 tracks).
The two current members definitely flow well with Proscriptor (who's still a beast on drums), there's a clear direction and overall the writing is much better and focused than their last album. Their sound has a very subtle tint of modern black metal spread throughout as well — of course they're still all about blazing riffs, ridiculous screams and technical/quirky drumming but there's a different atmosphere from their past work.
Proscriptor is still quick and odd, splitting the vocal duties with bassist and still showing off his high pitched screams and hoarse snarls. He's great as always. Guitar work is much more memorable than it was on Absu for me while still revolving around their classic formula. They throw in a few twisted riffs which is a nice spice to the thrashy foundation that work perfectly with what they're laying down. There's a 14 minute closing track consisting of six separate parts which could've been split into three tracks and worked just as well in my opinion, but it isn't detrimental. All parts are solid and work fine together.
Overall it's a great release and certainly a step up from their previous album, taking what makes Absu unique and subtly moving their sound forward. Not pants-shitting like Tara or In The Eyes of Ioldanach but a pleasant surprise. Recommended. You can listen to it here.