The Texas-based Absu didn't start out as a black metal band. When Absu's original lineup was formed in 1989 (back when they were still going by Dolmen), Scandinavian black metal was in its infancy -- and Absu had more of an early American death metal/thrash metal type of sound. In 1989, the vast majority of headbangers in the United States didn't even know what black metal was. But black metal has come a long way since 1989, and Absu's work became increasingly Scandinavian-influenced as they went along. Black metal, in fact, is the main ingredient on this 2008 release; there is some thrash metal in Absu's sound, but the material is black metal more than anything. From the ominous harmonies to the sinister-sounding rasp vocals to the blastbeats, this 53-minute CD could easily be mistaken for the work of a Norwegian or Swedish black metal band. But Absu are definitely from the United States, and the phrase "black metal band from Texas" is certainly an attention-grabber in light of the fact that the Lone Star State isn't exactly considered a black metal hotbed. Although this album has its melodic moments, it would be a mistake to think of the material as symphonic black metal. The disc isn't as consistently nuanced or as intricate as symphonic black metal recordings, and more often than not, Absu thrives on brute force -- which, of course, is what the majority of black metal bands (and death metal bands) are known for doing. This CD isn't as intriguing or risk-taking as Absu's 2001 release Tara, which is a more essential recording. But Absu is at least decent, and it is good to see an American band making a contribution to black metal.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson
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