Abbath – Dread Reaver

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After the sophomore outing “Outstrider”, Abbath Doom Occulta (vocals, guitars, and bass) truly finds himself at the top of his game on third album “Dread Reaver” out via Season of Mist on March 25th, 2022. While composing some of the most powerful riffs that will touch you to the core, the album is packed with outstanding riffs and shredding guitar solos. From the very start of the album, Abbath shows his dexterity in channeling different styles of metal genres. “Dread Reaver” see the return of Mia Wallace (bass guitar), Ukri Suvilehto (drums), and, Ole André Farstad (lead guitars and acoustic guitars). The high-octane musicianship creates the energy for the tempo changes with the ultimate emphasis on Abbath’s theatrical presentation is the highlight here.

The opening song “Acid Haze” set fire with its vicious black metal riffs, the swirling inferno of the pyrotechnic show begins at drums unleashing a blizzard storm of blast beats. The absolute aggression of the sadistic force of fury combines absolute heaviness and pure menacing vocals, the guitar solos are all over the place fueled by the fiery display of the instrumentation. The loud savagery drums provide a perfect backbone to this furious track, the thundering riffs continue to rumble like some demonic titan beating on the drums of war. “Scarred Core” blasts into an up-tempo pace and the tight drumming reflects on the frenzied aggression and then all hell breaks loose in a glorious galloping march. The groovy bass guitar carries the sound with the hammering drums, crafting the song with a throbbing vibe of powerful riffs. Compiling powerful dynamics and elements from thrash, speed metal, and black metal, “Dread Reaver” has this old-school aggression that will remind many of the classic Bathory in the eighties era. However, a song like “Dream Cull” offers also some hints from the sophomore release where Abbath presents an ultimate menace. The acoustic intro passage of the song leads into a scathing riff work, the album production is superb and the drums sound powerful and clear. Each song bursts into fiendish inferno then move to rapid-fire drum beats, while the guitars are the centerpiece of the album guitarist Ole André Farstad shows shrewd riffing methods.   

Myrmidon” is full of a jarring cacophony of croaky vocalization and razor-sharp riffs that give the whole song an old-school classic feel of speed metal. The whole intensity builds up to chaotic tempo and the perfect layering of the guitar solos and thudding bass guitar offers stylish and combustible energy from the quartet. There are lots of elements that cast the memory of raw black metal, while the riffs had always been on display. Musically “Dread Reaver” is full of these bombarded elements that outshine the previous effort. “The Deep Unbound” takes a merciless turn to extreme black metal where the ruthless avalanche of the blasting drums shifts to a higher speed. The guitars infuse blazing riffs and the tremolos swell like a burning fire, there are lots of hooks everywhere. “Septentrion” is among the best songs of the album it begins with the double bass setting for blazingly powerful and high dynamic tempo and the low menacing vocals are on display. Stuffing the mid-paced tempo with catchy riffs it literally feels like “Dread Reaver” incorporates extreme measures. The main riff is sharp as a cutting blade despite the catchiness of the tempo. And the insane riff mania on “Trapped Under Ice” offers a solemn tribute to old Metallica. The solo is another highlight of this cover song that embodies a brutal exercise in thrash metal. 

Although one cannot deny the cohesive riff structure and the highly crafted songwriting, Abbath takes a new approach on the newest album. “The Book of Breath” begins with an acoustic guitar passage, adding an epic feel midway through the song. My general opinion is that the album has many fantastic ideas but often loses its charm in favor of the chaotic outbursts which somehow ruin the catchiness of the song. “Dread Reaver” is a fierce black metal album achieved by high levels of intensity. To my feeling, the songs that include Mia Wallace are clearly the best songs of the album. The album’s closure “Dread Reaver” is an outstanding song where the riffs are catchy and powerful with Abbath’s menacing vocals sounding so sinister and the riffing is absolutely savage.

Though most of the songs are based on one or two main riffs, they are full of rawness and uncompromising brutality. Abbath’s third outing is well defined and offers plenty of hooks. Once you hear the riffs you’ll remember the glorious days of old Immortal albums like “At The Heart of Winter” and, “All Shall Fall”. This is highly recommended for fans of Bathory, Immortal, and, Venom.   

Release Date: March 25th, 2022
Label: Season of Mist
Tracklist:

  1. Acid Haze
  2. Scarred Core
  3. Dream Cull
  4. Myrmidon
  5. The Deep Unbound
  6. Septentrion
  7. Trapped Under Ice (Metallica cover)
  8. The Book of Breath
  9. Dread Reaver

REVIEW SCORE

  • Music9/10
  • Vocals/Lyrics9/10
  • Production9/10
  • Artwork7/10
  • Originality10/10
8.8Abbath’s third outing is well defined and offers plenty of hooks. Once you hear the riffs you’ll remember the glorious days of old Immortal albums like “At The Heart of Winter” and, “All Shall Fall”.
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