Review Summary: Abbath’s debut is predictable yet solid, containing everything that we have come to expect from him.
I can’t say with certainty if it’s mostly due to the time of the year or the actual music on the LP, but there’s some value that has made Abbath
one of my most listened releases lately. Be it the fact that it feels shorter than it really is, clocking at around 40 minutes, or the abundance of catchy riffs, but Abbath Doom Occulta’s latest offering is by no means a forgettable release.
Those who are already familiar with Immortal’s All Shall Fall
and I’s Between Two Worlds
might place Abbath
somewhere in between. This translates in infectious icy riffs and classic metal influences in a melodic black metal surrounding. Granted, the album is more about execution rather than innovation but as long as the former Immortal leader can still write songs like “Winterbane” or “Root of the Mountain” there’s no reason to complain. Both songs are among the highlights and might bring to mind Sons of Northern Darkness
even though they lack that extra oomph and destructive nature that could make them easily standout among the tracks of the Immortal classic. In addition, the closer “Endless” and “Fenrir Hunts” will remind everyone that this is still a black metal album that features a variety of the traditional elements of the genre bar the lo-fi production.
Moreover, there is a strong epic flavor throughout and several traditional metal passages that make the album easily accessible to non-black metal fans. A couple of bass fills and even the use of brass instruments (“Ashes of the Damned”) help in providing differentiation which is an issue sometimes with black metal. In the meantime, Abbath’s signature croak is neither too loud nor too back in the mix and complements the music nicely.
On the other hand Abbath
is by no means an exciting
album nor does it break any barriers whatsoever. Let’s not kid ourselves, the former Immortal frontman plays by the numbers and strictly inside his comfort zone. Nevertheless, this is not all bad as it has a positive impact regarding the consistency of the LP.
Overall, fans of Immortal from At the Heart of Winter
and onwards will probably find Abbath’s debut an enjoyable listen. It’s well-crafted, catchy, powerful and at no point retracts anything from his legacy. After leaving his longtime fellow music traveler, Doom Occulta seems to have landed on his feet by offering a predictable yet solid album which contains everything that we have come to expect from him.