(Our guest contributor Trollfiend proves that it’s possible to write a review of Absu’s new album despite self-inflicted traumatic brain injuries.)
(This is a transcription of a recorded conversation taken pre-review at the Gateway Psychiatric Hospital of one ‘Mr. G—-‘, who at the time of this report is in a fully vegetative state after suffering self-inflicted traumatic brain injuries and who is currently only capable of salivating profusely and muttering occult gibberish. While two speakers are listed here in the transcript, analysis of the recording by audio experts proves conclusively that both ‘voices’ belong to ‘Mr. G—–‘. Given the nature of the ‘responses’, we have dubbed the ‘second speaker’ accordingly.)
Subconscious: I bet you can’t do a review of the entire new Absu album without using the words ‘black’ or ‘metal’.
Me: CHALLENGE ACCEPTED.
Subconscious: It’s so black. It’s like darkness raped midnight and this is the ebon spawn that they painted black and buried in the bottom of a disused well shaft in a cave.
Me: The new Absu album Abzu, second in a trilogy of…dare I say ‘concept’ albums?…after 2009’s Absu, might be said to suffer from middle child syndrome. I have to be honest…the first time I listened to it, I wasn’t getting grabbed and repeatedly punched in the throat like I was expecting. That’s about the only negative thing I have to say about the album, however. Repeated listenings, which I’ve come to realize are pretty much essential for any Absu album, started showing me the layers they’ve woven into the work. I felt compelled to go back and listen to Absu (the album) again as well, so I could get a feel for the journey they’re taking us on.
Subconscious: Blacker than SPACE.
Me: Let me tell you, Abzu is bl…. uh…it has definite influences from the Scandinavian extreme…music…scene from the early 90s. The first track, ‘Earth Ripper’, opens with a… I was going to say Slayer-worthy, but you know what? Fuck it, it was a King Diamond-worthy falsetto scream. Now I have to be honest, I’m not a huge fan of said eunuch-like ululating, BUT, thankfully, Sir Proscriptor doesn’t beat it to death. The track is balls-out met… balls-out heavy music, and hot buttery Christ on a biscuit I sound like my grandmother. ‘Heavy music?’ Shit.
Subconscious: Metal metal metal metal metal metal metal metal metal metal metal metal metal metal metal metal metal metal metal metal metal metal metal you hate me, don’t you?
Me (gritting teeth): So far my favourite track is “Abraxas Connexus”. This song, like most of the album, has a very old-school feel to it, reminding me in an offhand way of early Kreator and maybe even Coroner a little… I mean that purely as a compliment. Not that it sounds derivative, just that in my sick and twisted mind, these are the connections that are made.
Subconscious: ‘Sick and twisted’? Shall we talk about the time you fantasized about sodomizing that manatee at Seaworld while screaming “I fuck mermaids for Satan!”?
Me: Probably the most ambitious work on this album is the 14-minute-plus closer “A Song For Ea”. I say ‘ambitious’, because while I like it musically I find it to be a little disjointed and not entirely cohesive as a single track. I’m reminded of Moonsorrow’s “Tulimyrsky”, which, while it had its disparate elements, still managed to tie them all together into a satisfactory hole. Whole. And that song is more than twice as long. I find no fault with “A Song For Ea” otherwise, I just think a little more polish will benefit it without detracting from the overall atmosphere. Wait…the manatee thing? That wasn’t a “fantasy”, I just thought it would be funny if someone did that.
Subconscious: And by ‘someone’ you meant ‘you’, and by ‘funny’ you meant ‘sexy’.
Me: I am going to skullfuck myself with a stick blender just to shut you up.
Subconscious: Just try to sneak up on me, I dare you.
Me: The remaining tracks on the album, “Circles of the Oath”, “Skrying in the Spirit Vision”, and “Ontologically, It Became Time and…” something something… I fell asleep before I could get to the end of the title…are perfectly acceptable black metal fare in the Absu vein, but I confess they didn’t really stand out to me. There is some great riffage to be had, and on their own they are fine.
Lyrically, they are also typical of Absu, delving deep into Hermetic magic, Sumerian mythology and occult symbolism. I generally try not to examine their lyrics in too much detail, because that way lies madness, but if you’re curious, they now have the lyrics of all of Abzu (and all previous albums) posted on their new website at Absu.us (link: http://absu.bandzoogle.com/lyricalmagick.cfm). For each song they have a precursor description about what it means, which is probably only helpful if you’re an academic student of such things, but still.
Abzu is a thick slab of black mythological occult metal, and I’ll be getting a copy as soon as it drops if for no other reason than that I want to be able to play all three albums in the trilogy as one playlist and see if I can open a portal into some night-blackened nether realm and summon forth an Elder God of Chaos. Who doesn’t love that?
Subconscious: Wait. You lose. You said it.
Me: Stick blender attack! Ha ha! <bzzzzzzzzz>
EDITOR’S NOTE: While we await the outcome of Mr. G—-‘s blender war with himself, I’ll remind you that Abzu is due for release by Candlelight on October 4. You may remember that BadWolf previously reviewed this album for us (here), but we’re committed to giving equal time on this site to victims of catastrophic brain damage. Have a listen to “Abraxas Connexus”: