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Abbath - "Outstrider" (CD)

Abbath - "Outstrider" CD cover image

"Outstrider" track listing:

1. Calm in Ire (Of Hurricane)
2. Bridge of Spasms
3. The Artifex
4. Harvest Pyre
5. Land of Khem
6. Outstrider
7. Scythewinder
8. Hecate
9. Pace 'till Death (Bathory cover)

Reviewed by on July 4, 2019

"Every track on “Outstrider” can stand on its own. There’s no filler material on this album whatsoever and it’s been locked in my listening rotation since I received my promotional copy back in April."

Olve Eikemo, aka Abbath Doom Occulta aka Abbath, released his first post-Immortal and self-titled album in early 2016. The album garnered numerous outstanding reviews and overall made it obvious that Abbath could survive without the Immortal cloud hanging over him. Three short years later, and some line-up changes, we have the sophomore Abbath release entitled, “Outstrider.”

My first impression of “Outstrider” is that it’s the second act of “Abbath,” but after several listens, I reassessed that thought. Don’t get me wrong - both albums sound like they could be twins, but with “Outstrider,” the devil is within the details. In fact, the songs are so detailed that one can only speculate that this could be some of the reasoning why King ov Hell left the band in addition to “conflicting views on lyrical concepts.”

Every track on “Outstrider” can stand on its own. There’s no filler material on this album whatsoever and it’s been locked in my listening rotation since I received my promotional copy back in April. The first track on the album, “Calm in Ire,” immediately conjured a vision of Charon crossing the river Styx. How this meshes with the atypical Norwegian Black Metal aesthetics, I have no idea…but the way and power imagination have on the mind while listening to music is a wonderful thing.

Another highlight of this album is the cover of the Bathory classic, “Pace ‘till Death.” One of the things I love about the black metal genre in general is the nods they give to their predecessors. Sure, lots of bands do this, but with black metal it’s really noticeable because Bathory receives a lot of love in that regard. In any case, this cover tune is the proverbial cherry on top for what is one of the better albums released this year in all of heavy metal.

Highs: No “sophomore slump” for Abbath. This album continues where the debut album left off and improves on it.

Lows: I think the album suffers just a little from lack of a stable line-up. The songs seem to play it safe at times due to a lack of new ideas from different band members.

Bottom line: If the album, “Abbath” hasn’t done so already, “Outstrider” will propel Abbath past Immortal’s popularity. Not so much a traditional black metal album, but definitely one of the better extreme metal releases I’ve listened to over and over this year.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls


Key
Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)