Abbath, the former face of black metal legends Immortal, is back with Outstrider, his second album from his eponymous band, complete with a totally new lineup.
His self-titled album got him critical praise for continuing what Immortal had been doing with albums like At The Heart of Winter and keeping that sound his own. Immortal answered back with a more roots black metal approach with Northern Chaos Gods and was excellent, too. How does Outstrider compare to both Abbath’s past and present?
He picks up right where left off with Abbath. Fast and furious second wave black metal riffs run rampant on “Calm In Ire (Of Hurricane)” and continue to be a linchpin of his sound. Swirling guitars and pounding drums permeate the air and are punctuated by new guitarist Ole Andre Farstad’s amazingly melodic leads when things start to slow down on tracks like “Harvest Pyre.”
The title track sounds like it was crafted from latter Immortal albums as you gallop across frozen tundra and icy plains while readying for a great battle. The two guitarists balance well with Abbath handling secondary duties this time around, this allows for him to croak his way through memorable tunes without him being the sole focus vocally and musically.
A special shout out goes to the band’s excellent cover of the Bathory classic “Pace Till Death” as the delivery is nearly spot of to the Quorthon original, right down to the vocals on display. Abbath deliver an excellent follow up to what was already declared a critical success, one that was followed with a spot on the Decibel Magazine Tour.
If this is what Abbath and crew are capable of every few years, then let them eat. This is the kind of black metal that appeases fans of old and brings in the new. All hail the king of Norwegian black metal!
(released July 5, 2019 on Season Of Mist)
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Watch Abbath – “Harvest Pyre” Video