ABSU - The Third Storm of Cythraul (AGONIA Records - picLP 2008)
So, here is the third Absu record and I must say that this one brings me some mixed feelings. Why? Well, obviously Absu will always be one of my favourite black metal bands from USA, their excellent debut LP “Barathrum V.I.T.R.I.O.L.” is one of my fave albums ever, I also really like “The Sun of Tiphareth” and “Tara”… But why I especially always appreciated debut LP the most is that atmosphere of the music, its evil feeling, but also how epic an monumental it is, combined with black metal harshness and ferocity. Maybe the second LP lacked a bit of that, even though it is still a damn good album. And then we have the third LP “The Third Storm of Cythraul” and Absu has changed a bit. From one hand this LP may be seen as sort of continuation of the previous ones, definitely there are many similarities between them all. Once you hear “The Third Storm of Cythraul”, you know it is Absu! But from the other hand this LP is just different, as it brings a great dose of old styled thrash metal to the table. Which maybe is not something terribly wrong, as “The Third Storm…” is still damn strong and great album, but I liked that epic, evil side of Absu from the debut more. Anyway, “The Third Storm…” is a furious thrashing black metal attack, with few more epic and atmospheric parts here and there… And I feel like with this record Absu really came back to their roots, to what bands like Dolmen and Magus were doing! Mind that on “The Sun of Tiphareth” they already did a song, which was more in this style of thrashing black metal, which originally was written by a Texas band called Morbid Scream. And on “The Third Storm of Cythraul” Absu lurks into the past again, bringing this style and again taking a Morbid Scream song for a cover.
And I suppose that “Morbid Scream” song, which originally appeared on the self titled demo of Morbid Scream in 1988 is not only one of the greatest pieces on the whole “The Third Storm of Cythraul”, but it is also a great summary of the entire album. Which is vicious, aggressive, obscure, almost kind of mad and possessed! And some other anthems such as “Prelusion to Cythraul / ...and Shineth Unto the Cold Cometh...”, “Swords and Leather” and “A Magician’s Lapis-Lazuli” are very much in the same vein. And as I mentioned, they’re different to such Absu LPs as “Barathrum”, speaking of the lack of these atmospheric parts, keyboards, etc, but on the other hand there also many similarities, which will allow you to recognize Absu. And I don’t only mean some specific riffs, but also the drumming, arrangements and finally the vocals, which on “The Third Storm…” have been sang by Proscriptor in major part, but Shaftiel is also involved – like in the excellent “Highland Tyrant Attack”, which is a great battle anthem, starting furiously to end in more epic way. But my real favourites are in the end of this LP, starting with the most epic “Customs of Tasseomancy (Quoth the Sky, Nevermore) Act I”. This is a killer track. It goes after the vicious and fast “Morbid Scream”, so it appears in great, epic way (there are even some clean vocals), then it rips with more crushing and aggressive manner, only to finish in more spectacular and atmospheric part. And that monumental and majestic feeling is carried on in the final anthem “…of Celtic Fire We Are Born” – a truly magnificent song, the best piece definitely, even though it is so different to such “Sword and Leather”, being way slower, less chaotic and furious, more melodic and atmospheric. But this is the EPIC side of Absu I love! Such songs are the essence of Absu style; I always like them the most and the same is here on “The Third Storm of Cythraul”. Fantastic finish to the whole LP!
Standout tracks: “Customs of Tasseomancy (Quoth the Sky, Nevermore) Act I”, “…of Celtic Fire We Are Born”, “Morbid Scream”, “Highland Tyrant Attack”
Final rate: 80/100