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Abbath - "Abbath" (CD)

Abbath - "Abbath" CD cover image

"Abbath" track listing:

1. To War!
2. Winterbane
3. Ashes of the Damned
4. Ocean of Wounds
5. Count the Dead
6. Fenrir Hunts
7. Root of the Mountain
8. Endless
9. Riding on the Wind (Bonus track)
10. Nebular Ravens Winter (Bonus track)

Reviewed by on January 28, 2016

"[The album] wears it's heart on it's sleeve whilst still steeped in the freezing plains where the vocalist first emerged."

When news of the split between Immortal and their recognizable front man Abbath Doom Occulta emerged, many of us feared that the band would drag their name through the mud as Gorgoroth had done previously. However, the matter seemed to be resolved quickly and before we knew it, Abbath revealed his own eponymous band and album, which was released this past week. So, no longer a member of one of black metal's elite, the question is; How well will Abbath do on his own? Well, if this debut is anything to go by, he just might leave his former comrades in the dust.

The album begins with a solid black metal piece, "To War!," which as the title suggests, serves as both a battle cry and a warning to listeners that what they are about to experience is nothing short of the extreme. It's a real shame that Creature has since left the band because his drum work on this track, and indeed the entire album, is truly outstanding. Though it has an underlying thrash sound to it, it's very much the kind of dark and cold audio that one would expect from the former Immortal man.

As fans will probably have hoped, "Abbath" is a black metal album, no questions about it, displayed most prominently on the opener, the first song revealed from the album, "Fenrir Hunts" and the closing track, "Endless." That track retains its furious Norwegian style grimness despite the Motorhead influence being quite clear to hear. Motorhead aren't the only classic heavy metal band to shape Abbath's song writing, as his early heavy and thrash metal roots are strewn throughout the record, perhaps most notably on the single "Count the Dead," though "Root of the Mountain" also proudly displays the old school patches.

Overall, this is a wonderful debut from Abbath, who will prove many if not all doubters wrong with this excellent offering that wears it's heart on it's sleeve whilst still steeped in the freezing plains where the vocalist first emerged. It's of course too early to tell if this is the album of the year, but it's certainly album of the month.

Highs: "Count the Dead," "Winterbane" and "Fenrir Hunts.

Lows: While there are no flaws as such on the album, some tracks may fail to make an impression.

Bottom line: An oustanding debut from the former Immortal frontman who may have a long and successful career away from his old band.

Rated 4 out of 5 skulls
4 out of 5 skulls

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)