Quickie: Absu – Tara (2001)
Ever felt like ripping someone’s head off? Absu’s Tara probably won’t make you want to, or help you do so, but it will provide a cool musical backing for it. But anyways, this is basically the third of Absu’s “black metal” albums (unless you count their debut, which leaned more towards death metal), and it’s high on velocity and fairly technical.
Mostly it’s the drums that are all showy and syncopated and impossible to ignore. Proscriptor (Russ R. Givens) adds fills at least every measure, even during rare blastbeats. If his goal was to shock and awe the listeners, he definitely succeeded – outside of Absu, he’s played with Melechesh, Judas Iscariot, and might have replaced Dave Lombardo in Slayer were it not for one Paul Bostaph.
The riff work doesn’t stand out as much, but it’s more than competent. It’s mostly tremolo based, but we also see a lot of whole interval scales and 7th chords. Any given song has about 4-5 riffs on average – not a large amount (Although the song Vorago has quite a few more), but on the plus side, each riff is well thought out, even catchy at some times. Most likely, first time listeners will latch onto the 7 minute “Stone of Destiny”, in which Proscriptor shows he can impersonate the late Ronnie James Dio and the band slows down substantially.
The production is very good for black metal – it’s probably more typical of a relatively extreme thrash metal album. In comparison to something like “Reign in Blood” or “Pleasure to Kill”, the guitar tone is slightly muted, yet the drums are immaculate. Unfortunately for bass lovers, there’s basically none of the low strings to be found here, but there’s still a good amount of low end in the sound.
Standout tracks: “She Cries the Quiet Lake”, “Vorago (Spell 182)”, “Stone of Destiny”