Picture of Absu

Barathrum: V.I.T.R.I.O.L.

Absu - Barathrum: V.I.T.R.I.O.L. ©1993 Osmose
1. An Invocation of Thorns
2. Descent to Acheron (Evolving into the Progression of Woe)
3. An Equinox of Fathomless Disheartenment
4. The Thrice is Greatest to Ninnigal
5. Infinite and Profane Thrones
6. Fantasizing to the Third of the Pagan Vision (Quoth the Sky, Nevermore Act II)
7. An Evolution of Horns

Absu is another one of those bands that, over the years, I've probably picked on a bit more than most for never quite delivering musical achievements on par with their noteriety. Much of my general disdain probably can be pegged on their pretentious tendencies and the fact that I've sat through drummer Proscriptor's solo record before. However, it should be noted that on their 1993 full length debut, Absu was forging a slightly different path, although not necessarily with great results.

It was just a few scant years before that the very idea of keyboards in "credible" heavy metal was laughed off with great heartiness and big haw-haws. However, death metal bands such as Nocturnus were quickly demonstrating that incorporating something besides scowls and guitars into metal was perfectly acceptable. Absu took this approach and forged a sound that borrowed from the burgeoning black metal world as well as the slightly more established death metal realm. The album includes occasional "spooky" keyboard passages as well as a drawn out intro song. So, to a degree, Absu was braving some relatively new waters at the time. The only problem is that Barathrum is generally quite dull and particularly dated sounding nowadays. It mostly sounds like a band who has a glimmer of an idea and then pulverizes it to death because they lack the ability to ever completely develop that sound beyond a core. These are not memorable songs, to put it simply.

So yet again I've sat through another Absu record and found little on it that really warrants any more attention on my part. This has been par for the course since I first heard them in the 90s. Maybe Absu lucked out being an early adopter of black metal imagery and stylings, but that certainly doesn't mean they were actually a great band of that era.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 02/2012

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The Sun Of Tiphareth

Absu - The Sun Of Tiphareth ©1995 Osmose
1. Apzu
2. Feis Mor Tir Na N'og (Across The North Sea To Visnech)
3. Cyntefyn's Fountain
4. A Quest Into The 77th Novel
5. Our Lust For Lunar Plains (nox Luna Inlustris)
6. The Coming Of War
7. The Sun Of Tiphareth

Probably the most notable thing about Absu is the fact their black metal madness originates from Texas. Generally I associate most Texan bands with being Pantera clones (well, some of the lesser known ones) and the fact that this trio has gone their evil merry way says something about their motif. Absu's sound can easily be traced back to the earlier days of thrash, as influences such as Kreator, Sodom, and Bathory are very evident (especially in "The Coming of War"). Proscriptor's drumming has a lot of neat little kick-drum tricks and he's smooth enough to change the tempo every few seconds without disturbing the flow. Moreover, Absu isn't afflicted with the Blast Beat Bacteria, which infects way too many bands. There are flourishes of atmospheric touches, such as the instrumental (and terribly cool) "Our Lust for Lunar Plains (Nox Luna Inlustris)" or "A Quest into the 77th Novel". Absu isn't exactly beating down doors of ingenuity, but they are proficient enough to appeal to the black metal demon within.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 07/1998

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The Third Storm Of Cythraul

Absu - The Third Storm Of Cythraul ©1995 Osmose
1. Prelusion To Cythraul
2. Highland Tyrant Attack
4. Swords And Leather
5. The Winter Zephyr
6. Morbid Scream
7. Customs Of Tasseomancy
8. Intelligence Towards The Crown
9. ...Of Celtic Fire, We Are Born
10. Akhera Goiti--Akhera Beiti

Reverting to a more thrashy form, Absu fails for the most part to ignite much of my attention with The Third Storm of Cythraul. The band chose to use a speedy, old-school thrash approach with a bit less of that keyboard ambience of their past (with a few exceptions--"Customs of Tasseomancy" tends to incorporate those elements), but unfortunately the result is a very monotonous album. After awhile Proscriptor McGovern's strangled sounding rasp tends to really just be detrimental while the lifeless thrash blurs by. Unless your soul is actually owned by a member of this band, you are under no obligation to have this in your collection.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 01/1999

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...And Shineth Unto the Cold Cometh 7"

Absu - ...And Shineth Unto the Cold Cometh ©1995 Osmose
1. Akhera Goiti - Akhera Beiti (One Black Opalith for Tomorrow)
2. ...and Shineth Unto the Cold Cometh...

...And Shineth Unto the Cold Cometh, a two song EP from 1995, acts a rather apt and concise snapshot of what Absu was all about in their earlier days. The two songs, both clocking in around the seven minute mark, are lengthy, ambitious, and somewhat fruitless by conclusion. Absu's tendency to overreach is well illustrated in the first track, which contains plenty of elemental black metal bits and pieces, but never fully reaches any sort of consensus on just what the song was meant to accomplish in the first place. The title track offers further frustration as it begins with an excellent moody introduction that actually captures a sound that not many other black metal bands ever ventured near. However, after this short intro, the band is off to the races and demonstrates that generally speaking, their songwriting bag of tricks is scant and sparse. As with most Absu, except for the occasional brief moment of brilliance, this seven incher leaves the listener wishing for something more fulfilling.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 02/2009

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