From the ashes of Immortal comes the second coming of Abbath Doom Occulta, the mastermind behind the somewhat self-titled conglomerate Abbath. With white fashioned paint dawning on the face, Abbath is a hammer that strikes upwards with their 2019 release Outstrider. A punishing and unrelenting performance, Abbath moves by torchlight on horseback, delivering pain and pulverizing misery.
One of the heavyweights of black metal, the cornerstone of Abbath starts with the Norwegian origins of the genre. Nearly every second spent on Outstrider is agony that hits the perfect methodology in combining both the gates of hell with an approachable metallic sound. With tracks “Calm in Ire (Of Hurricane)” or “Bridge of Spasms,” the two opening tracks are blitzkriegs through instrumental deaths. Leading in this waltz of four instrumentalists to combine forces in a façade of hurt.
Abbath Doom Occulta is the main member that covers the vocals and guitars, while Ole Andre Farstad seems to play the multitool purpose of lead guitars, acoustic guitars, baritone guitar, and the zither which is a German guitar-esque stringed instrument. Alongside is Urki Suviletho on the percussion which leaves Mia Wallace as the pulp hero on bass that works their way into a foundational crunch. Bone and marrow seem to be the way that Abbath rolls through Outstrider as the tracks are not long-winded, often only reaching a maximum of five minutes.
The almost grueling pace that Abbath sets for the record, however, is tiresome, but a welcome 38-minute journey that stretches nine-total tracks. Each work seems to clamor more and more, creating waves of noise that crash into the listener and provide no easy way out. Watching the second studio record unfold through this tornado of sound comes naturally as Abbath Doom Occulta has been in the game since 1989, registering dominance over his 30 years in music performance.
Sinful, demonic, and even downright sadistic, Abbath acts as an apparitional shadow that lurks over the listener throughout Outstrider. Each action creates paranoia in the audience as the untraceable movements from the band seem to be under this master plan of writing and recording. While the glorious days of black metal may be long inked in the pages of history, Abbath’s Outstrider is still a forceful entryway back into the genre.
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