Written by: EW on 17/02/2009 17:13:38

Rarely have I been so keen to say 'Welcome back!' to a band as I am for mighty American black/thrashers Absu, who after 8 long years in which they never formally split have finally released a follow-up to what is in my mind simply one of the greatest extreme metal albums of all time - "Tara". Their new, self-titled, album has quite a pedigree to follow and if it doesn't turn out to be the equal of "Tara", well then Absu can hardly claim they didn't spend long enough working on it.

The band haven't spent the preceding years sat on their arses smoking a proverbial fat one (Axl Rose) as vocalist/mainman/drumming extraordinaire Proscriptor McGovern found himself without any bandmates following the 2002 departures of long-serving guitarist and bassist Shaftiel and Equitant Ifernain, on top of his involvement with Melechesh (among others). With a new band formed ready to take on the hyper-speed riff machine of Absu and 13 new songs penned the end result is the grandiose, spectacular "Absu".

Of course there are other extreme metal bands who do the technical aspect well and procifiently, but none do it quite like Absu. Proscriptor hammers out intense speeds and rhythms of the kind one would assume a 4-armed monster was behind the kit, and whatever guitarist line-up the band holds they damn well need to flex their fingers to meet some of the fastest, flashiest and most explosive riffs in the world of metal. Not surprisingly the sense of all out chaos that was "Tara", both in guitars and drums, has been reined in a little for an increased psychedelic influence and dare we say it, slower approach to song making. Needless to say, slow in comparison to many passages of "Tara" could still represent the 2nd fastest metal album ever but the impenetrable riffing in the likes of "Sceptre Command", "Amy" and "Those Of The Void Will Re-Enter" represent a reduced significance on an all-out explosion of technical prowess with songs of various speeds ("Ye Uttuku Spells", "Of The Dead Who Never Rest In Their Tombs Are The Attendance Of Familiar Spirits...") becoming more the Absu norm. However when the pedal is pushed Absu maintain impervious control of their machines: the majestic bridging and atmospheric creation found in "Magic(K) Square Cipher" and probably the greatest opening riff you will ever hear in "Amy" simply put Absu on a different plain from most other bands. Words utterly fail to explain the magnificence of the soaring, lead riffs in "Amy".

The strong Celtic theme of previous Absu works has also been honed back on this outing, to be replaced by "Sumerian-based occult themes of magick and mythology" as described by Proscriptor himself. The result being some rather questionable song titles ("In The Name Of Auebothiabathabaithobeuee" and "Nunbarshegunu" anyone?) but also the absence of the bagpipes which worked so well in book-ending "Tara", to be replaced by increased psychedelia and experimentation ("Of The Dead..."). "Absu", with the exclusion of "Amy" may ultimately be missing the likes of "Pillars Of Mercy" and "Manannán" that made "Tara" so perfect, but is a mighty record in itself, one which unearths new directions and twists on each listen and will do good in enticing another legion of fans to the cult of the Absu.


Download: Amy, Ye Uttuku Spells, Sceptre Command
For The Fans Of: Melechesh, Deströyer 666, Akercocke
Listen: Myspace
Buy: iTunes

Release date: 16.02.09
Candlelight Records

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