Absu - Absu
It's been a long time coming, but Texas' black metal intellectuals Absu have finally returned, albeit with new faces and an 8 year hiatus worth of rust to shake off. But you'd never know it. Absu culls together every principle example of the band at their finest in the past, reproduces the values of production, depth of sound and texture the band has always been acclaimed for, and simply bulldozes any expectations of irrelevance into the dirt.
To truly consider the lyrical approach of Absu as "intellectual" might just be the layman's way of disregarding the true nature of the mythological subject matter. It's all almost exasperatingly relevant to the metal culture as a whole, and is simply there to project the music it associates itself with as something more otherworldly and spiritual in it's inflections. A proper summing up of this album can be found in one word: journey. It's an adventure that weaves itself through so many passes, parralels and projections that it ultimately feels much longer (satisfyingly so) than it's 53 minutes. The music itself takes pages from early-day thrash (think Metallica, or Kreator), norwegian blast-beat-laden black metal (Mayhem, Darkthrone, Marduk), and in certain ways it's more melodic moments are simply pure classic metal. Vocalist/Drummer Proscriptor is the band's driving force and I've always considered him one of the most talented metal minds America has ever been responsible for. While certain tracks (Amy, the monumental "13 Globes" and Those Of The Void will Re-enter) may seemingly stand out more from the rest, this is most definitely an album that is front-to-back required listening.
While the band's prior experimentations seem somewhat restrained on Absu, it is more than proper because it allows for a fuller appreciation of the concrete elements that made this band so influential and relevant in the past. They've stepped back into their prior roles with such ease, and in the process created a hyper-accessible slab of blackened metal that would serve as the perfect entry point to anyone looking to discover the genre. It's almost like they never left.
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