Thursday, 13 March 2014

Absu - The Sun of Tiphareth

ABSU - The Sun of Tiphareth (AGONIA Records - picLP 2004)
Damn, last week I was playing Absu's second full-length album "The Sun of Tiphareth" and I realized that... most likely I haven't been listening to this record for more than ten years! Time flies so quickly, you mainly listen to tones of new music, which comes in… You also frequently listen to some classic LPs, but there're always some, which you somehow forget about. And this is what happened with "The Sun of Tiphareth"! I used to have a cassette with this album, then later in the mid 00's I bought the picture LP released by Agonia Records, but somehow this album stayed somewhere in the shadow... and yes, I haven't listened it for so many years. Luckily, I finally took my virgin copy of vinyl and decided to play it... and damn, it feels so good to listen to this album again. It's been so long that I feel like I am discovering some parts of this album again! There are some moments I still remember very well, while some other feel kind of fresh, what is great. Anyway, one thing is certain - the album still sounds as great as I remembered and even if I prefer the debut LP over this one, “The Sun…” still belongs to my three favourite Absu records ever!
I guess that if I was about to compare "The Sun of Tiphareth" to "Barathrum" then one thing, which I like more about the debut album is that it had more evil atmosphere and that the songs on the first LP were all just utterly superb, with incredibly memorable moments, totally awesome vocals, keyboards and just everything about "Barathrum" sounded perfect. And the atmospheric part of it was just incredible. Saying that I don't mean that "The Sun of Tiphareth" is not good. It is also totally amazing, truly classic black metal album, with some brilliant songs and many exceptional ideas and performances. But I just liked the songs from the debut more.
Anyway, "The Sun of Tiphareth" kicks off with one killer song titled "Apzu". Oh, this eleven minutes long anthem is the best piece from the whole album and it is just a pure pleasure to listen to it. It has just awesome riffs, many memorable parts, a lot of diversity - from the very aggressive moments to more atmospherics parts, including some female vocals... The song - just like the whole album, really - has a strong mystical, occult and dark atmosphere, and the greatest thing about Absu is how well they have managed to put their intriguing concept and atmosphere into original and exceptional music. "Barathrum" was a great example for that and now "The Sun of Tiphareth" is a rightful continuation and again we can say that none other band has ever recorded something like this. But back to "Apzu", this song is almost like a journey for the listener... a journey into the unknown, where you simply don't know what to expect, but keep on going, as there are so many surprises everywhere that it amazes you. This song has many layers, many different passages; great guitar work, fantastic drumming of Proscriptor and finally the insane vocals (shared between Proscriptor and Shaftiel)! Arrangements in this one song are enough to convince how unique Absu is, how great ideas they have... and these lyrics! When I listen to this song, read the lyrics, it is almost the same feeling as when I do this with King Diamond records.
It couldn't be a better start. But now I can moan a little… Two following songs,  "Feis Mor Tir Na N'og (Across the North Sea to Visnech)" and "Cyntefyn's Fountain" are just not quite as brilliant as "Apzu"... they're good and have also some exceptional moments, but as the whole are just not on the same level of perfection as the opening song. That flawlessness comes back with another masterpiece, "A Quest into the 77th Novel"; that instrumental passage with acoustic guitars, which comes after the spoken female vocal part, is just brilliant! Another fine song, which I must mention is "The Coming of War", which sounds very different, with a strong classic thrash metal influence, which may resemble you even the great German gods of thrash. The song is very vicious, very aggressive and has this classic metal vibe, which the band would explore even more on their third album "The Third Storm of Cythraul". Somehow though it still fits perfectly to the rest of the LP and it doesn't feel out of place at all. It’s because Absu plays everything in own way and style, adding some extra flavour to it… So even if "The Coming of War" doesn't have any atmospheric parts at all and is just damn vicious and merciless thrashing black metal song, it still sound perfectly and has its rightful place on "The Sun of Tiphareth".
Standout tracks: "Apzu", "A Quest into the 77th Novel", "The Coming of War"
Final rate: 85/100

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