On January 27th, 2020 Proscriptor (drums, vocals) decided to disband his former band Absu after a series of legal disputes. The incarnation of Proscriptor McGovern’s Apsû is the rebirth of a new legacy and the direct continuation of what would be the future sound of Absu. The self-titled debut album pushes the boundaries to more frenzy and chaotic black metal, bolstered by tight riffs and a surreal atmosphere, led by Proscriptor McGovern (drums, vocals, flute, and keyboards), Ezezu (vocals, bass), Vaggreaz (lead guitars, bass) and Vorskaath (keyboards, acoustic guitars). Musically, Apsû takes another approach from the former style, exhibiting a rawer sound where the guitars, vocals and the energetic boasts of the drums move together into a vortex of swirling forces.
The high performance of the quartet managed to pull the principal sound of blackened thrash metal, but this is not some boring, modern extreme metal album. On the contrary, the songs are powerfully aggressive: the opening track ‘Amenta: Accelerando: Azyn Including Hierophantasmal Expounder‘ begins like a tornado of swirling riffs and raspy pissed off vocals. Powered by twin sharp guitars, the drums create fast-paced tempos. Rushing towards the eye of the vortex, the guitars churn whirlwinds of violence as Proscriptor McGovern’s unique vocals fuel the action-paced tempo and driving riffs increasing in intensity and speed.
‘Esoterically Excoriating the Exoteric‘ is furiously extreme, emphasizing raspy growls and superb drum attacks. The classic trademarks of infusing an eerie atmosphere into the music are the most impressive features of the album. Rhythm guitars and sonic textures show the splendid skills of the veterans. The focused tone of the guitars illustrates concrete riffs of pure thrash metal mania. There’s a natural cohesion in the riffing department. While the tempo is played at a rapid speed, the drumming is mainly played with superb aggression.
‘Quasaric Pestilence‘ begins with an upbeat tempo when the guitars impose a technically complex efficiency and the drums shift to blast beats. While the album, in general, has a raw and modern avant-garde sound, the songs are on point, straightforward, and chock full of thrashing black metal riffs. Even though the band plays at different tempos, the melodies are seamlessly inserted in the right place hence adding some memorability. ‘Mirroracles‘ moves at lightning speed, but there is a moment when the spiraling solos propel at an extremely fast tempo. You can clearly notice that the guitars don’t rely on the tremolo-picked riffs, instead they offer a nonstop barrage of power chords.
Most of the songs begin at breakneck speed, though I would say that Apsû has somehow reinvented itself from the previous works of Absu. Through sheer aggression there’s a great effort in shifting gears to blast beats, manifesting the elements of avant-garde black metal. As you might expect the use of dissonance is clearly manifested and I must say the re-emergence of Apsû gives us an introduction to McGovern’s intellectual prospect. ‘In-Betweenness Gateway Commuters‘ seemingly gives us innovative glimpses of modern black metal. There are plenty of details to uncover from the textural rhythm and lead guitars.
The guitars provide plenty of scathing riffs played in the most twisted and frantic tempo that would tear down the walls. The most rhetorical examples are found on ‘Jupiter in Capricornus‘ and ‘Dedicated to Thoth, But Azathoth Wasn’t Listening (A Necroloquy)‘. Both are rife with absolute aggression. Riffs are full of grit, energy, dynamism and diversity. Perhaps the only missing element in this set of tracks is the absence of any atmospheric features. Like most of the songs ‘Caliginous Whorl‘ is focused on power chords and the riffing is stemmed from acute tremolo-picked riffs. The sheer attacks of the guitars and drums are reminiscent of early Absu albums such as ‘The Sun of Tiphareth‘, and ‘Tara‘.
The approach here is focused to create a strong interplay between the dual guitars offering plenty of memorable hooks. While everything here flows like a hellish maelstrom Apsû brilliantly conveys a grand offering of solid black/thrash metal, as they embody shrewd musicianship. ‘The Coagulating Respite‘ and ‘Prana: Therion: Akasha‘ are both fabulous. The guitars show great depth and pummeling hostility from the drums offering blast beats. What really stands out here is the fantastic use of the keyboards adding extra textures to this song, ‘Tantrums Of Azag-Kku‘ brings the surrealistic vibe of the synth into a dreamy effect.
Proscriptor McGovern’s Apsû is a quite varied and dynamic album that takes many influences from modern black metal and old-school thrash metal, combining them into a sonic pandemonium. The avant-garde touch of modern Abigor is clear on the album closure: ‘Every Watchtower Within Is the Axis of a Watchtower Without Including Totemic Thresholds‘ shines with the masterful performance. It covers all the aspects of modern black metal in all its rich technicality, demonstrating a sophisticated piece of wonderful atmospheres and atypical melodies. Finally, this comes as highly recommended for fans of Abigor, Deathspell Omega and Mayhem.
Release Date: November 26th, 2021
Label: Agonia Records
- Amenta: Accelerando: Azyn Including Hierophantasmal Expounder
- Esoterically Excoriating the Exoteric
- Quasaric Pestilence
- In-Betweeness Gateway Commuters
- Jupiter in Capricornus
- Dedicated to Thoth, But Azathoth Wasn’t Listening (A Necroloquy)
- Caliginous Whorl
- The Coagulating Respite
- Prana: Therion: Akasha
- Tantrums of Azag-Kkû
- Every Watchtower Within Is the Axis of a Watchtower Without Including Totemic Thresholds