Absu - The Third Storm of Cythraul

Production: Ashen and distant but representative.

Review: Metal traditions of three generations come forth in the third release by US black metal band Absu. Combining the vocalcentric approach of early evil heavy metal bands with the frenzied vibrations of high-speed frenzystrum bands like Slayer while integrating the riding percussion and vocals of a modern black metal band, Absu bash out communicative music that rocks along nicely while solidly iterating its simple, violent missives. Without ever peaking any new frontiers in metal or music Absu bring a closure to many of these styles, a historical fixation that at its core might be something like Mercyful Fate but might also contain the historical work of other evil metal pioneers Slayer, Morbid Angel, Bathory.

Perhaps best understanding this music comes from outside analysis of its anti-function: deconstructive but affirmative music coded in simple but pointedly nihilistic terms to suggest a return to an era of mythos when existence beyond common objects meant more than first-world feeding festivals of valueless sustenance.


1. Prelusion to Cythraul (6:48)
2. Highland Tyrant Attack (4:58) Heavy metal, death metal, speed metal, doom metal, grindcore or thrash mp3 sample
3. A Magician's Lapis Lazuli (3:08)
4. Swords and Leather (3:07) Heavy metal, death metal, speed metal, doom metal, grindcore or thrash mp3 sample
5. The Winter Zephyr (3:00)
6. Morbid Scream (2:10)
7. Customs of Tasseomancy (3:28)
8. Intelligence Towards The Crown (1:56)
9. Of Celtic Fire, We Are Born (8:33) Heavy metal, death metal, speed metal, doom metal, grindcore or thrash mp3 sample


Absu - The Third Storm of Cythraul: Black Metal 1997 Absu

Copyright © 1997 Osmose

Streams of powerchords imbued with sub-rhythm in the hummingbirdwing strum roll into snare-stamped, chord-grounding positions which finalize the violent rhythm of the meme (per song, per part of song) which defines the violence apart from others. Lead guitars wail psychotic but understate their understanding of the music, leaving the pyrotechnics for almost cynical interpretations of tradition and common mentality.

Drums dart and strike outside of the cage of rigid rhythm backing these musically dogmatic phrases, but with enough internal offset to nourish counter-complexity in all subelements in awareness of all others. This percussion foils the overbearing need for guitars to return to conclusion from wandering speed riffs, but joins in chorus increasing as the song culminates. Of all the things arrayed here, the interplay of song sustenance (percussion and guitar rhythm) against song meme (vocal and main percussive rhythm) reveals how well Absu orchestrate their songs: the melodrama apparent on the cover functions in the aesthetic of their creations, songs built on the foundations of metal to play out its classical issues: mortality, destiny, determinism, and the soulless nature of the forces of goodness in comparison to the lawless, ordered, chaotic impulse from the side of darkness.