I’m sitting here on a night when the snow is barreling down on Philadelphia, and as I look out my window there is no better music to accompany this moment than the self-titled debut from ABBATH (out now on Season of Mist). I’ve had it for a few days, but I wanted to wait till the storm hit to talk about it. This weather is made for Black Metal. The music is cold and full of despair, but at the same time it packs a wallop across each and every one of these eight songs.
“To War” is an opener fitting of its namesake, the sound befitting of an ongoing battle. This is followed by “Winter Bane,” one of my favorites from this record. The groove and guitar line are simply out of this world, and bassist King ov Hell lays it down somethin’ fierce. The song is nearly seven minutes long and keeps you riveted the entire time. That one particular guitar riff will stick with you for hours if not days. “Ashes of the Damned” comes at you like the possessed hordes of evil from jump, ensnaring you in its rhythm, while the sheer brute force attack of “Count the Dead” should have all the corpse-painted faithful ready to burn buildings down on command. Then, all of a sudden, it turns into an all-out pummeling as if from nowhere, increasing both the speed and cranial damage.
“Fenrir Hunts” is interesting because ABBATH’S riffs are thick and juicy, and the band sounds like they’re sharpening their various blades of destruction, ready to kill anyone who gets in their way. The guitar riffs are also razor-sharp, and Gods help anyone caught in the blast radius. Another standout for sure. There’s also an unexpected animalistic primal feel to “Ocean of Wounds.” Now we come to my absolute favorite number one stunner in “Root of the Mountain.” This track is perfect on so many levels, it’s almost criminal. If you’re looking for the number to accompany a massive snowfall while looking over a bleak landscape then this is it! I still can’t get enough of the song, and I imagine it will capture many of you the same way.
The album closer “Eternal” wastes no time getting down to the business of fucking shit up and setting things on fire, then watching them all burn. This track reminds me of tying someone to a chair and coincidentally, setting the building on fire around them. Such is the power of the guitar, bass, drums, and sinister vocals. I didn’t know what to expect from this album. And if I went by any of the stupid clickbait sites, I wouldn’t have even listened to it. But, ya know what? ABBATH just put out a fucking great Black Metal album, one that I can see in heavy rotation at A&GS HQ for a long time. And as the snow keeps falling tonight, I can think of no better soundtrack than ABBATH.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “Root of the Mountain”, “Winter Bane”, “Fenrir Hunts”, “Ashes of the Damned”