Abbath
Dread Reaver


2.2
poor

Review

by Robert Garland STAFF
March 27th, 2022 | 62 replies


Release Date: 03/25/2022 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Washed in Abbath.

Ah, the immortal Abbath. Or is it: Abbath, the Immortal? Either way I’ve always been tentatively hopeful that Abbath’s separation from the infamous Norwegian black metal band would result in something fruitful, pushing past the simple pleasantries and goofy black n’ roll aesthetic we’ve seen under the more modern Abbath moniker. This time around however, Abbath’s Dread Reaver misses the mark, goes off tangent and mostly disappoints. I mean, separately, I like Abbath as a musician. Moreso when you consider the impact Immortal has had on the black metal scene. But these days? Man, I just don’t know about that anymore…

That’s to say Dread Reaver doesn’t even hit the happy-go-lucky standards of the albums that came before it—mostly due to its lack-lustre guitar work, stoner-lug pacing and some criminal Motorhead worshipping vocals. That’s forgiving most of Abbath’s Lemmy-style gravel that’s peppered his past releases. Still I can’t help that most of the act’s individuality is long gone, victim to the fact that this is definitely, without doubt an Abbath (the guy) show. After all, his likeness adorns the front cover and the album’s mixing…

Let’s not get stuck here though.

“Acid Haze” starts strong. Simple terms for a simple track. Riffs burn through the speakers while a tumult of drums provide a very predictable background. While the track’s aesthetic thrashes and romps in the darkness, everything itself is hidden under a wash of the album’s sub-par mixing. While the strings blur to the point of being unidentifiable, only Abbath’s coarse croak and the snare/bass pound away to clear effect. This mixing further cripples the album’s ability to be replayed to the nth degree. Ideas blend and wash out without separation, further compounded as Abbath’s vocals continually lose their visceral edge. “Dream Cull” and “Myrmidon” fly by without a need for comment; even while an eruption of ideas all happens, at once and without impact. These old-school thrash cum black metal rompers present themselves as mindless, self-pious expressions marketed for those greybeards who “miss the good ol’ days”.

That’s not to say everything here is the musical equivalent of a dumpster fire. If you have the patience to sift and sort there’s a few approachable, solid head-banging moments—just put down the Jack Daniels and cigs for a minute. These moments, few as they are, stick out and make the complacency of the rest of the record stick out like a cat’s arsehole. Take the solo work of “The Deep Unbound” for example; not only is that one of the best single guitar moments to be found within the Abbath discography, but it’s also neck-deep in the mire that stalls the rest of Dread Reaver. Making matters worse is the contestable latter half of the new record—an exclamation mark on that piss poor Metallica cover. “Trapped Under Ice” suffers from a stock standard delivery, lacking the originality you’d hope an act with Abbath at the helm would achieve. Frankly, it’s okay on a first listen. It might even pass as casual listening at a party, but past that it’s value to this record is measured in the bare minimum. Dread Reaver misses on multiple fronts and its occasional glimpses into brilliance are far outweighed by its stock-standard ideas, blurred mixings and inconsistent vocal delivery. I know I’ve skimmed over the bare minimum in this review and frankly, I find it hard to pour more time into a record that’s filled to the brim with minimal effort. Maybe Abbath and co. were looking for a happy medium. Honestly, they fucking hit it. It’s just on the wrong end of the scale.




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user ratings (48)
2.7
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Abbath

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Comments:Add a Comment 
Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
March 27th 2022


17278 Comments

Album Rating: 2.2

For the three people that might read this thing:



https://abbath.bandcamp.com/

FR33L0RD
March 27th 2022


6190 Comments


Oh, this is a really well done review. Direct, straight talk, like it. I am an old time Immortal fan, that said, Abbath is on a slow decline since many years. Sad, for some, but true. Imo, he should go and stay backstage, relax and enjoy life. Instead of trying and missing so hard. Love the old crazy bastard, but not what he is doing recently.

Digging: Pink Floyd - Is There Anybody Out There?

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
March 27th 2022


17278 Comments

Album Rating: 2.2

It's a touch ranty. Not deliberate.



But the rest of the albums in this discog are happily in the 3 to 3.5 range this is such a let down.

manosg
Staff Reviewer
March 27th 2022


12506 Comments


Spot-on review I'm afraid, from what I've heard from the album. On the positive side, seeing the news of an Abbath album a while ago, made me want to jam I - Between Two Worlds again, which is a great album.

Digging: Bruce Springsteen - The Legendary 1979 No Nukes Concerts

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
March 27th 2022


17278 Comments

Album Rating: 2.2

Gotta look for that silver lining. Always.

hansoloshotfirst
March 27th 2022


1572 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

the only progress in his solo output has been the production getting progressively worse.



Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
March 27th 2022


17278 Comments

Album Rating: 2.2

Big agreeable oof.

solrage
March 27th 2022


279 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Review nails it. The production just completely suffocates anything of musical interest happening on the album. Were it not for the cymbals in the right and left speakers I'd swear this was recorded in mono as the bass, vocals and guitars just congeal into an amorphous, gelatinous mass in the center channel. That approach can work for black metal that's going more for an aesthetic effect, but not for someone like Abbath that's mostly about the riffs and groove of more old-school (Bathory, Motorhead, etc.) metal.

garas
Contributing Reviewer
March 27th 2022


7252 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

Except the following sentence: "Frankly, it’s okay on a first listen.", it was a spot-on review, well done man!



It's... close to pathetic in terms of quality, not even old-schoolers will enjoy this one, I'm afraid. Abbath and his love for Motörhead isn't a bad thing though, as his tribute band "Bömbers" is a sickly good project. But in this? Total disappointment.

InfernalDeity
March 27th 2022


146 Comments

Album Rating: 1.0

Beautiful write up. Its a shame, I was looking forward to this release.

Grungil
March 27th 2022


522 Comments


Might be early to sentence it, but this might be Abbath best solo album.

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
March 27th 2022


17278 Comments

Album Rating: 2.2

-but this might be Abbath best solo album-



Not even close. Both the sophomore and the debut do much better than this.

Muzz79
March 28th 2022


1799 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

Fair analogy, Abbath solo has always been Black Metal Motorhead even down to the Lemmy styled vocal delivery but I'm ok with this album so far. Coming from someone who reckons the only real keeper from his first 2 albums is Winter Bane

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
March 28th 2022


17278 Comments

Album Rating: 2.2

It's not offensive. It's just low quality - which is offensive.

Essence
March 28th 2022


6615 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

i didn't hate this anywhere near as much sput seems to (or at all). thought it had some nice moments and seemed less lifeless than the last album

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
March 28th 2022


17278 Comments

Album Rating: 2.2

Average rating is still closer to the 3 mark then the review score at this time

alkostach
March 28th 2022


277 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5 | Sound Off

Whoa, mixing is atrocious. It's loud but I can barely hear anything in this wall of noise. No idea how this got released in this state. This is basically unlistenable.

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
March 28th 2022


17278 Comments

Album Rating: 2.2

It’s got the Abbath tick of approval.

TheNotrap
Staff Reviewer
March 28th 2022


17705 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

His worst album to date, in my opinion.

Digging: Darkane - Inhuman Spirits

Gnocchi
Staff Reviewer
March 28th 2022


17278 Comments

Album Rating: 2.2

It's hard not to stand by that.



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