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Abbath - "Dread Reaver" (CD)

Abbath - "Dread Reaver" CD cover image

"Dread Reaver" track listing:

1. Acid Haze
2. Scarred Core
3. Dream Cull
4. Myrmidon
5. The Deep Unbound
6. Septentrion
7. Trapped Under Ice (Metallica cover)
8. The Book of Breath
9. Dread Reaver

Reviewed by on March 25, 2022

"“Dread Reaver” is a feral and menacing collection of pent-up frustration, aggression and liberation that had accumulated since the release of “Outstrider” and the self-destruction that occurred afterwards."

Persistence and the undying love for his craft are what keep Abbath Doom Occulta going forward each and every day. It was just two and a half years ago that his professional and most likely his personal world came crashing down in an incredulous and expedient manner. At the time, I’m sure that most of us that either watched those infamous videos that emerged from Bueno Aires or were following the drama via social media during that time, thought his career was kaput/over/gonzo. Almost 29 months later, Abbath Doom Occulta has returned with his third solo album since Immortal disbanded. “Dread Reaver” is a feral and menacing collection of pent-up frustration, aggression, and liberation that had accumulated since the release of “Outstrider” and the self-destruction that occurred afterward.

“Dread Reaver” consists of nine tracks with one of them being a first-rate cover from the daddy of all heavy metal, Metallica. The first track, “Acid Haze” is an IN YOUR FUCKING FACE ripper. If you flame out and expect to make a comeback like Abbath is doing, you have to have something that will grab the listener’s neck/ears/private parts within the first 20 seconds or it’s over for said career. It’s a huge decision because that one song is going to determine your career path from here on out. I’m going to say that he passed with flying colors and he still has aces up his sleeve to spare.

The second track, “Scarred Core,” is positively my favorite song on “Dread Reaver.” That galloping riff along with the kick drums with all that bass chewing up the bottom? It’s music meant for battle. When I listen to it, I just have this vision of him in all decked out in his stage armor, riding a horse with axe in hand and lopping off the heads of those that discounted him during the past couple of years.

A couple of other songs worth mentioning are “Dream Cull” for its classical guitar prelude. It reminds me a bit of “30 Seconds” by Exodus from the “Pleasure of the Flesh” album. These classical bits were more common back in the 80’s but it’s awesome to hear one pop up now and again and on an Abbath album no less. “Septentrion” unmistakably has an Immortal vibe to it and that should keep you Immortal purists happy until the next album.

I mentioned earlier that there’s a Metallica cover on “Dread Reaver” and that cover is “Trapped Under Ice.” I love this choice of a Metallica cover. Not only does it come from my favorite Metallica album, “Ride the Lightning,” it’s also one of the most underrated thrash songs during that era of Metallica. Abbath flat-out nails the intensity of this song. Abbath may technically be black metal, but this cover doesn’t have that feel. The tempo is a bit faster than the original, but it just modernizes the song, in my opinion. He doesn’t shriek like Hetfield either, but his monotone growls are match perfect with his vision of what that song could sound like with a revamp.

“Dread Reaver” is what every Abbath fan was waiting for in a comeback album. It’s inspirational in the overall sense of this existence we call life. Think about it for a second. Abbath’s personal timeline pretty much looks like this over the past couple of years: Implosion, Rehab, Pandemic, and now possibly World War III on the horizon. I don’t know or pretend to know anything about Abbath Doom Occulta personally other than what I see of his crazy antics on YouTube videos. I would think he has an incredible support system of family and friends that helped throughout his recovery and to get to this point in time. Even with support, this was no easy feat and obstacle to overcome. This is his calling and nothing will stand in his way. He deserves all the success that “Dread Reaver” commands and then some.

Highs: The whole album is a feel-good story of persistence. It's fiercely brutal as well.

Lows: Some songs don't stand out from the crowd as much as previous releases.

Bottom line: Comeback Album Of The Year!

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)