Thursday, August 12, 2010

Absu - Tara

 One of the many reasons I suck Proscriptor's dick

Holy intensity Batman! Absu's 2001 effort, Tara, may have the common decency to let you recuperate between every few songs with goofy bagpipe bridges, but the black thrashing metal madness of the rest of the record is so relentless that the breaks become moot point. I am very new to Absu, to be quite honest. I had heard the previous album, The Third Storm of Cythraul, and found it to be nothing special. Well over a year and a half later, I downloaded Tara on a whim, listened to it once, and bought it immediately afterwards. Maybe it's the improved production or the more identifiable songs, but this one just kicks the shit out of their previous work in every way possible. Even after several listens and over a year to sink in, Storm hasn't resonated with me at all, and I really don't plan on listening to it ever again. Tara, on the other hand, whipped me so ruthlessly at the get go and I was screeching some shit about crying quiet lakes as I was in the process of ordering it a mere hour after the bagpipes of the title track began.

There are two main things that make this so spectacular, and they are Proscriptor's terrifying drumwork and Shaftiel's riffwork. There are some people who have complained about the riffs here, and I really can't understand it at all. They are all incredibly fast, ripping black/thrash hybrids that stick in your mind like peanut butter to a scrotum (thanks in part to the frequent syncopation of the vocals). Proscriptor, whom I became familiar with through his work with the mighty Melechesh, blows away every expectation I had coming into my listening experience. Everything he impressed me with on Sphynx is amplified by 12 on this record. He's mechanically precise and creative with his fills/beats, and his vocal work is varied and interesting throughout. The highlight is probably "She Cries the Quiet Lake", where he does the weird uh-huhing thing (SHE CRIES THE-UH QUIET LA-HAY-HAKE!) that typically would never work with harsh vocals, but it seems to flow well enough here. Maybe I'm just a fanboy in a way, but I can't help but cream endlessly about the musical qualities of the record. The only downside are the pointless bagpipe interludes that pop up a handful of times throughout. I don't feel like they really add to the atmosphere (apart from the last track), and I fail to see why they were even included in the first place other than to remind the listener that this was based of Celtic myth.

Which brings me to something that leaves my head spinning... what the fuck is this album even about? It's the last part of a trilogy, and the booklet gives background and explanation about every track, but I'm still completely lost. The theme is impossible to follow to me, and while that doesn't really make a huge difference in my analysis, it is something that flusters me. I love understanding the music I listen to, and that's why I'm such a whore for "making of" documentaries and comments from the artists. But when the artist himself leaves me more confused than when I started, there is something seriously wrong with my head. Overall, this is highly recommended. Black/thrash has never been this intense nor punishing. Despite the traditionally trebly guitar tone, this stands as one of the most relentless albums in my possession.

RATING - 89%

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