By now most metal fans surely know of the nasty split between Abbath and his former mates in Immortal, so the black metal icon has chosen to go out on his own with a new band under his own name, which also includes King on bass and Creature on drums. The self-titled Abbath debut, released on Season of Mist, carries over most of the Immortal characteristics, as well as Abbath's brief band I, and contains eight tracks of furious, heavy black metal. Abbath's familiar croak and rampaging guitar riffs are all over these songs, with the cold frosty atmosphere of the Norwegian forests looming over rampant blasting courtesy of Creature and King's muscular bass.
"To War!" and "Winterbane" kick things off in fine fashion, two modern takes on the classic black metal style that Abbath helped make famous, while the more epic "Ashes of the Damned" adds some keyboard and horn elements (!) for a truly unique and evil flavor to this otherwise rampaging track. "Ocean of Wounds" is a pure piledriver for your skull, as Abbath's monstrous riffing and venomous snarl collide with potent drumming for one of the albums more mid-paced but heaviest offerings. There's a touch of 'black-n-roll' to the otherwise pummeling assault of "Count the Dead", while "Fenrir Hunts" is pure speed & brutality, an old school black metal descent into hell. By the time you get to the slightly doom laden & quite epic sounding "Root of the Mountain", it's pretty apparent just how much variety this debut contains, but as you are pondering that bit of factual information the jackhammer closer "Endless" stabs you in the gut and leaves you for dead with its merciless intent and savage ferocity.
While there's perhaps nothing groundbreaking here on Abbath's debut, for most the familiarity of this album is going to be a very good thing. This is vintage sounding Abbath, and he's got two guys with him who are more than up for the challenge to help create thunderous black metal that pushes all the right buttons. Highly recommended!
See more about this release on our recent YouTube show!
1. To War!
3. Ashes of the Damned
4. Ocean of Wounds
5. Count the Dead
6. Fenrir Hunts
7. Root of the Mountain