Honing the skills!
Outstrider, the sophomore Abbath album is great. Much greater than its predecessor from 2016 Abbath.
Outstrider show almost no influence of his previous band Immortal, and apart of that a new line up which always make things sound different.
In this album, although at least one song remembers Immortal, the others absolutely don’t.
The album is focused in more like a strange and perfect mix of old school metal and a subtle industrial influence. How come?
Okay let’s start from the beginning: Calm in Ire (of Hurricane) is the most complex song of the album, I think he would like to cause a different impact and he got it right.
Bridge of Spasms enters in a Bathory-esque empire with a “hardcore sound” inside the purest Black Metal possible. Scandinavian and violent to the bone.
The Artifex follows suit but in the middle of the song, it showcases a pure heavy metal solo, and funniest thing without being a “mixture”. It shows that Black Metal is still more Metal than Black, as it SHOULD be natural in all other bands! At another angle: is it heavy metal inside black or it’s just black metal? No one should answer that question. But it’s all there. But even with that there is another thing that one should notice: over again the Bathory-esque appears in full, mainly from the phase of Requiem and Octagon, the drum fills at the beginning put me back in the old days.
Harvest Pyre, although more assertive, still shows some traces of Immortal, mainly the dramatic sound from the album At the Hart of Winter. But don’t worry, it’s just a natural spasm and nobody here is accusing the man of being non-creative.
The Land of Khem alternates between the insane black metal attack and the insane Abbath vocals. At this point it is impossible to not realize that the perfect production is heavy as hell.
The title track is the most progressive and dramatic of the album, mid-tempo song, but it doesn’t break the logic of the album whatsoever. It makes perfect sense with its high-pitched solos.
Scythewinder is craziest and no-frills song of the album, concentrating itself in the way Abbath sings and the occasional guitar theme. One will not get disappointed.
Hecate is a black metal faster than the speed of light and if one had any doubt about the truest black metal nature of this album, even though the greatest production, this doubt vanishes in the thin air. Over again the semi-acoustic guitar by the end of the song remembers something like Blood Fire Death.
Talking about that…
… the closer is a proper Bathory cover from that album Pace Till Death. It’s identical and even the part when Quorton from some limitations of the production in 1988 enters singing (second stanza), in a part that he shouldn’t (but as headbangers we are used to that, ahem, mistake), Abbath does the very same thing at the very same place.
Fun is a word for it.
The thing is that Outstrider is a perfect album of an artist who is in the business for far too long to commit any crimes against black metal. The album is perfect. Nothing less than that.
Outstrider is out TODAY Season of Mist on CD, LP Black Vinyl, LP Silver Vinyl, LP Clear Vinyl, Cassette Tape, all the digital platforms as Deezer and Spotify and on Bandcamp for streaming or download in high quality (this version doesn’t contain the Bathory Cover).
(Daniel “Roderick Totentanz” Death)