Absu - Absu
Blackened Thrash Metal
13 songs (53:47)
Release year: 2009
Reviewed by James

Despite my love for their swansong Tara, I can't say the Absu reunion was one of their most anticipated releases of 2009. Only Proscriptor Mcgovern remains from the line up of 8 years ago, a man who I can't recall ever contributing much musically to Tara, even if he did turn in one of the all-time greatest drum performances on a metal album. Adding to that, the band were beset by line-up changes even before Absu was released, guitarist Vastator departing unceremoniously after just one year. But after having been written and announced two whole years ago, Absu have finally decided to grant us their reunion effort. So, after all the drama and delays, is Absu any good? Rather surprisingly, yes, and even if it's not quite Traced In Air it's still the kind of reunion album most bands wish they could make.

With it being an almost entirely different band playing on this, Absu marks something of a different direction for Proscriptor and co. You may be surprised to find that Proscriptor hasn't turned the band into his own personal drum clinic (from Tara, you'd imagine the other two members were there to rein him in). Indeed, it's a remarkably subdued performance from Sir Mcgovern, his beats being tailored to the riffs, rather than the other way around, although the likes of 13 Globes still offer enough brilliance to satisfy the drummers out there (and as an aside, just how good is that outro riff?) . There's also a touch more black metal influence this time out. The double-speed Slayer riffage of Tara plays a lesser role now, with greater emphasis on the sort of twisty turny black metal riffs like that which open up Between The Absu Of Eridu & Erech and a good chunk of Nunbarshegunu (Long song titles abound on this album, as you can see). Not that they've turned into Gorgoroth on us, as the middle eastern thrash of Night Fire Canonization is pure Morbid Angel. The likes of Amy are totally schizophrenic, bouncing from it's galloping riff that evokes prime Motorhead and Venom, to a mellotron led section that sounds like the sort of thing Opeth have been doing for the past few years. Yet, despite the various thrash, death and black metal influences abounding here, there's a certain special something here, a unique quality that is pure Absu. Perhaps it's Proscriptor's commanding rasp, which sounds stronger than ever, boosted by the step up in production values (the guitars certainly sound a lot less tinny this time out, and there's actually audible bass!).

Reunion albums usually aren't so hot, particularly when ¾ of the band are new musicians. But whatever Absu have lost, they've gained elsewhere. Absu is the work of a more unified and stronger band, working together rather than simply a backdrop for Proscriptor's vision (there are even guitar solos this time around!). They may have lost a bit of the fire of old, but it's a more progressive piece of work, blending keyboards into their patchwork of riffs. It's still not quite as jaw-dropping as Tara, for reasons I can't quite put my finger on, but Absu is an impressive return from the kings of blackened thrash. It's good to have you back, guys.

Killing Songs :
James quoted 87 / 100
Other albums by Absu that we have reviewed:
Absu - Abzu reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Absu - Tara reviewed by James and quoted 94 / 100
Absu - Barathrum V.I.T.R.I.O.L. reviewed by Crims and quoted 84 / 100
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