Released: 2005, Osmose Productions/The End
Absu set the metal world alight with TARA in 2001 but what has happened since then? Not a whole lot. Everything’s been pretty quiet since TARA’s release aside from some minor rumbling on their mainpage in 2002/2003 about a self-titled release that unfortunately never happened. Now semi-recently its come to my attention that the only member left in the band is drummer/vocalist/lyricist Proscriptor McGovern. All of this is rather unfortunate as the band really widened their audience with what is already being considered a black/thrash classic in TARA.
So, due to much of the band’s turmoil and Proscriptor’s lack of a band to surround him 2005 sees the release of the double disc of rarities in MYTHOLOGICAL OCCULT METAL 1991-2001. Spanning both discs is a smattering of hard to find, rare, live and unreleased tracks split into 7 different sections.
Disque One opens with the Rarities & Alternate Versions. This section sees the band’s contribution to the Gummo movie soundtrack, a song from the WORLD DOMINATION compilation and an alternate version of “Stone of Destiny” from TARA. All three songs are strong ones and do well to instantly give a listener a good smattering of the band’s later black leaning days. The next section sees the entire THE TEMPLES OF OFFAL EP which is certainly a rarity these days. It’s actually a very interesting listen considering its pretty far from what the band has become known far. These three songs are some pretty dirty death metal, especially “Disembodied” and “Sumerian Sands (The Silence)”. Section three is the AND SHINETH UNTO THE COLD COMETH EP from 1995 which saw a rather limited release. In the final section on the first disc is the HALLSTATTIAN SWORDS EP which is a collection of ambient tracks that would have probably been used as album intros/outros had they been released normally or they might have shown up on Proscriptor’s solo albums.
Disque two opens with Covers. This section contains four separate cover songs the band performed between 1996 and 1999, three of these showing up on tribute albums (Mayhem, Possessed, Iron Maiden) while one (Destruction) went unreleased until now. The band’s cover of Destruction’s “Bestial Invasion” fits their style all too well, certainly there’s little change from the original but change isn’t really needed when the style suits your own so well. The live section has four songs from three different shows. It’s on the upper end of bootleg material seeing as all the instruments are very clear and it’s quite better than most bonus live tracks that show up on most other band compilations. The final two tracks fall under the Unreleased heading and are rehearsal songs from 1993, yet even with that rehearsal feel the songs are quite enjoyable and I find myself turning to them again and again.
I always hate it when people recommend compilation releases to new fans because there’s always a single album in a band’s catalogue that one is better off getting. I always find that compilations do a poor job of giving a complete listening experience and I’ve found that I rarely if ever listen to them but I think I have to bend the rules for this one. There is a nice enough smattering of tracks from throughout the band’s career here that I think one can get a good view of Absu’s career. Add to that that no song on here is a waste of space, everything here is top quality, which goes to show just how good Absu have been over the years where even the songs and recordings that weren’t good enough to make full-length releases are still better than 95% of what’s being released. Strongly recommended for everyone, especially those who are dying for a new fix of Absu.