Reviewed: April 1, 2022
Released: March 25, 2022, Season of Mist
Reviewer: The Elitist Metalhead
Olve Eikemo, otherwise known affectionately to the world as Abbath Doom Occulta, is one of the most iconic metal musicians to grace the scene. While others get a lot of the spotlight, Abbath played an extremely important role in the “Second Wave.” Euronymous may have turned Abbath to black metal but it was Abbath who, in turn, passed that over to the infamous Varg “Count Grishnackh” Vikernes; thus cementing the black metal movement. And while those bands became more well known for their shenanigans, Abbath and his IMMORTAL were more focused on creating not only great black metal but a mythos as well. Although Abbath is no longer part of IMMORTAL, it’s his eponymous band that is allowing Abbath to expand his sound to create the perfect mix of black, thrash, and traditional metal. ABBATH’S third full length, Dread Reaver, shows that Mr. Eikemo is still capable of making killer metal.
I’m not one to always listen to the click baity metal gossip sites but it’s also quite obvious that Abbath was going through some personal shit, however, it seems that maybe all that is behind him because this album is no joke. “Acid Have” kicks things off in a big way. As soon as you hear the first riffs you know there is no mistaking his signature riffing style. Fast and ferocious his signature snarl appears not long after. ABBATH teased us with two singles prior to the album’s release, “Dream Cull” as well as the title track and while it took me a bit to warm up to them after listening to the album and hearing them in their proper order on the album I finally was able to properly enjoy those singles. I know the importance of releasing teasers and singles to get fans’ anticipation level up but metal is not as much a “songs” genre as it is an “album” genre. No metal head buys an album for one or two songs….leave that to pop music. No, the metalhead wants all killer and no filler. That means that sometimes a single that is released may not tell the whole story since we did not hear what came before and after that song. Track positioning can make or break an album. Hearing the singles as they were meant to play out is where you finally “get it.”
As we move through this album we are treated to some of the best blackened thrash that you could ask for. “The Deep Unbound” will melt your face with it’s monstrous riffs and blasting approach while the follow up, “Septentrion,” has a more traditional approach in places. One thing of note on this album is the solos. Ole André Farstad pulls off some really tasty solos on this as well as the other songs on this album. Technically brilliant without overdoing the wankery they not only compliment the music, they enhance it. Then we get to the surprise of the album, the cover of METALLICA’S “Trapped Under Ice.” One of METALLICA’S best songs off of their last truly brilliant album (fight me), ABBATH grabbed this song by the throat, and made it their own. Fast and crushing in the approach, his vocal snarl makes it seem like this is what the song should have sounded like in first place. They managed to upgrade a classic and that is no easy feat, but ABBATH managed to pull it off. Again, track positioning comes back up because the METALLICA cover is followed up by “The Book of Breath.” This song slays from beginning to end, even in the middle where it slows with some acoustics. That just adds some atmosphere and another layer to the song because it resumes kicking your ass shortly thereafter.
Abbath Doom Occulta is a legend in metal and with everything he has seen and done in black metal he still has a lot to say. Honestly, I was rather underwhelmed with the first two albums but third time’s the charm. This album has everything that I felt the first two were lacking. The songs are stronger and the execution is brilliant. You should really get this album…seriously!