Abbath - Abbath review




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Reviewer:
5.5

282 users:
7.63
Band: Abbath
Album: Abbath
Release date: January 2016


01. To War!
02. Winterbane
03. Ashes Of The Damned
04. Ocean Of Wounds
05. Count The Dead
06. Fenrir Hunts
07. Root Of The Mountain
08. Endless
09. Nebular Ravens Winter [Immortal cover] [bonus]


Seven years and a blizzard of litigation have passed since we last heard the batrachoid gnarring of Immortal frontman and painty-faced Boston terrier Abbath. Amidst internal struggles and various controversies, what was supposed to be a glorious return to fame quickly descended into an uncomfortable mistake. Frolic at the heart of winter for too long and you're bound to catch cold.

Perhaps I have simply grown too accustomed to the so-raw-it-still-has-a-pulse school of black metal production, but Abbath sounds flatter than Kansas. I don't hear icy gales of bloody, frigid misanthropy; I hear a bunch of guys sitting in a studio cutting austere, dispassionate tracks and then going home before discussing how the cogs all fit together. This album feels as rushed, pressurized, and incohesive as the recording process and birth of the band itself must have been. Moreover, while many of the songs are conceptually compelling and could have razed mountains if recorded 15 years ago, Abbath's own dreary, sloppy performance robs tracks like "Ocean Of Wounds" and "Root Of The Mountain" of impact.

Contrary to the norm, it's the small touches that make Abbath worse than it needed to be. The acoustic guitars in "Winterbane" don't come through strongly enough to overtake the electric instruments and contribute something, but sound just absurd and twangy enough to be distracting. The symphonic effects, thankfully rarer than the "olds grandpas guitars," are more bloated and self-parodic than any Manowar album cover. It's a symphonic effect, really; the keyboards make only a single appearance in "Ashes Of The Damned" and are then recycled at the end of the song, raising questions as to why somebody brought his keyboard to the studio at all if it were only going to get used once (and improperly at that). The band even becomes Motörhead for the last 30 seconds or so of "Winterbane," a creative decision that is confusing, to say the least. As far as I'm concerned, the drums really keep this album afloat, though King seems to be doing some pretty interesting things on those occasions when his bass shows up in the mix.

Stylistically, Abbath seems to have made a mild departure from his former ways. We hear black metal in Abbath's trademark gurgling and the tremolo-picked, sometimes frosty riffs, but a lot of the album has the thicker, heavier, later-era-Immortal feeling that verges on death metal. The album generally feels distanced from Immortal otherwise in style and substance, with a number of mid-paced tracks incorporating elements of more standard heavy metal (even groove or thrash), and Abbath isn't even as heavy as, say, Sons Of Northern Darkness, leaving it in this awkward no man's land of stifling production, drastically varied performances, and uneven songwriting that confuses the album's true direction.

Abbath clearly believes that he is Immortal, having tried to take the name for himself, unilaterally retire the project, and then recreate the classic experience on his first solo album. Unfortunately, arrogant velleities aside, Abbath is not Immortal, at least not anymore, and neither he nor his music can seem to "Withstand The Fall Of Time."


Rating breakdown
Performance: 6
Songwriting: 7
Originality: 4
Production: 5


 



Written on 08.07.2016 by I'm the reviewer, and that means my opinion is correct.


Comments page 2 / 2

Comments: 37   Visited by: 397 users
15.07.2016 - 23:48
Guib
Thrash Talker
Agreed Screaming. This is not good. I'd be even more severe than you are, nice review by the way.

Screaming - ''batrachoid gnarring of Immortal frontman and painty-faced Boston terrier Abbath.''

Bro, I laughed.
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16.07.2016 - 00:03
ScreamingSteelUS
Editor-in-Chief
Written by Guib on 15.07.2016 at 23:48

Agreed Screaming. This is not good. I'd be even more severe than you are, nice review by the way.

Screaming - ''batrachoid gnarring of Immortal frontman and painty-faced Boston terrier Abbath.''

Bro, I laughed.

That sentence is a personal favorite of mine.
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"Earth is small and I hate it" - Lum Invader

I'm the Agent of Steel.
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18.07.2016 - 19:50
FYA
Destroyer
Written by Nicko's Nose on 15.07.2016 at 09:40

Written by Guest on 08.07.2016 at 20:35

Uh....NO! 5.5? Hell no. By the way You rated Babymetal with 9.0 and the legendary lord of the black metal Abbath with 5.5? Have you heard the album?

and you rated half of the top albums of 2016 1/10 even though you didn't listen to them to get them out of the top 20. You're no better, kiddo.


Isn't that banworth?
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24.07.2016 - 07:52
Nicko's Nose
Written by FYA on 18.07.2016 at 19:50

Written by Nicko's Nose on 15.07.2016 at 09:40

Written by Guest on 08.07.2016 at 20:35

Uh....NO! 5.5? Hell no. By the way You rated Babymetal with 9.0 and the legendary lord of the black metal Abbath with 5.5? Have you heard the album?

and you rated half of the top albums of 2016 1/10 even though you didn't listen to them to get them out of the top 20. You're no better, kiddo.


Isn't that banworth?

I think so. But no one is doing anything about it.
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24.07.2016 - 12:14
Ace Frawley
The Spaceman
I think this is a decent album. On this site, a rating somewhere between 7 and 8 would be a reasonable assessment, in my view. Each to their own though.
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The sun shines over The Fool...
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17.10.2020 - 01:55
Timelord
Disagree with the review. This is a good record with some catchy songs. It is difficult to review something you already hate. You have to give credit where it is due even if you personally don't like it!
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17.10.2020 - 16:25
Troy Killjoy
perfunctionist
Written by Timelord on 17.10.2020 at 01:55

Disagree with the review. This is a good record with some catchy songs. It is difficult to review something you already hate. You have to give credit where it is due even if you personally don't like it!

And what credit is due exactly?
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"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something."
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