posted on 10/2011 By:
Absu's 2009 self-titled comeback was almost universally hailed as an exemplary exhibition of blackthrash dominance. Proscriptor McGovern had been lying dormant for roughly seven years following the beloved Tara, but the overall strength of the return album was enough to lift the band above the typical scrutiny that comes part-and-parcel with such layoffs.
In hindsight, however, the album isn't without it's faults. The production on Absu is bright-and-shiny as it comes, and while this lent some accessibilty to the band's ever-twisting thrash template, it blunted the edges of the album's more vicious offerings. That bouncy intro riff to "Amy"? Unaffected. But full-on rippers like "Those of the Void Will Re-Enter" and "Sceptre Command" were robbed of their teeth.
Speed freaks were left in the lurch, craving more panache. This time around, Proscriptor and company have answered their call. Abzu, the second installment of Absu's "self-titled trilogy," fucking thrashes. Hard.
Six tracks. Thirty-six minutes. Zero fuckarounds. "Earth Ripper" rumbles through the gates with a soaring, falsetto squeal, and the band proceeds to nail the gas pedal to the floor for nearly the entire record. It's the most relentless thing that Absu has crafted since 1995's The Sun of Tiphareth, and this comes as a welcome development. Absu is at their best when the prime directive is the destruction of worlds, and Abzu smashes planets.
The first five tracks all clock in at roughly four or five minutes apiece, and were seemingly crafted with the intent of reclaiming the abdicated blackthrash throne. "Abraxas Connexus" is gnarled, swirling, and compact, boiling with tension before bursting into a militaristic distribution of volcanic mass. "Skrying in the Spirit Vision" is packed with vertebreaking kinetics unseen since Razor of Occam's oddly underrated Homage to Martyrs, and is powerfully punctuated by Proscriptor's inhuman blasts and rapid-gnash vocal venom. And "Ontologically, It Became Time & Space" is the requisite drum clinic, engineered for maximum adrenaline discharge.
Abzu is an exercise in velocity and hellfire; this isn’t an overly cerebral affair. Even the thinking-fans’ closing track, the fourteen-minute suite “A Song For Ea,” can’t resist the urge to bomb down the rails at four billion MPH. (See the sub-tracks ‘A Myriad of Portals’ and ‘Warren of Imhullu’ for the visceral evidence.) Thus, those craving a more mystical, complete offering from Proscriptor and his merry men may have been left fucked out to dry here. But those with a more single-minded focus on wrecking fucking everything will be more than satiated by this primal expulsion of thrashed-out insanity.
Has depth been sacrificed for sheer speed? Absolutely. But when the result is as scorching as Abzu, it's irrelevant. Absu's internal fire remains unquenched.
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