Olve Eikemo, also known as Abbath Doom
Occulta, co-founded Immortal
back in nineteen ninety one. The band members had a legal dispute in twenty fourteen and Abbath
quit the group in twenty fifteen to start his solo career. The twenty sixteen self titled debut album was played at medium speed, ugly and sounded more cartoonish than evil, with some black n’ roll textures involved. It came across something like early Immortal
. This sophomore release, Outstrider
, comes in a bi-fold digipac and the album art depicts an abstract painting of Abbath
’s eyes. According to the lyrics in the booklet, an Outstrider
is a soul who is too evil to be accepted into Heaven
and too perverse to be allowed into Hades
. So he is forced to swim back and forth, from shore to shore on the river Styx
. There have been some lineup changes at the bass and drum positions, plus he has added a lead guitarist.
The opener, Calm in Ire
, commences with a howling wind and folk styled acoustic picking. The melodic drum beats and loosely played bass notes slowly creep in, along with epic guitar riffs. Abbath
utters his lines with a raspy and an unfavorably disposed vocal quality. “Perish the dead mesh stripped from our bones.” “Stark is the carcass cursing our wake.” The lead guitarist wails out a midrange solo and then the tempo increases. The bassist chugs emphatically and the guitarists play a choppy melody, that gracefully descends in notes. Abbath
started performing professionally as a teenager and he is now forty six years of age. His presence is characterized by wicked growling and throaty high pitched yelling. He often changes his vocal tones for emphatic and theatrical effects. Eikemo’s talent is comparable to Shagrath of Dimmu Borgir
and Wrath from Dodsferd
also plays the rhythm guitar and has added Raude (Ole Andre Farstad) as the lead guitarist. He is a member of Ilti Milta, which is a Norwegian thrash metal band. The guitar music is highly distorted with coarse grinding, fast thrashing and epic chops. The solos usually whine and wail at midrange notes. The third song, The Artifex, runs with a brutal guitar hook and fast drum pummeling. Then a midrange thrashing texture comes in, at a blazing fast speed. Abbath
throatily screeches forth the lyrics and switches between higher and lower pitches for emphasis. “I storm the portals of dead immortals, trapped in yesterdays.” “I seek the artifex, disenchant hex, to lift this curse of Cain
.” About halfway in the tempo slows down with an intricate guitar solo and casual bass plucking. The pace soon picks up speed, with violent riff shifting, using a thrash black texture.
The title track, Outstrider
, starts with a mellow acoustic melody. Then it abruptly breaks out with insolent guitar riffs at medium speed. Abbath
growls his expressions, alternating between yells and screams. “Cerberus
snaps at my heels, chased out of Hade’s blighted fields!” “What Mammon won’t give, the outlaw steals!” The drummer beats steadily along with intermittent cymbal crashes, as the bassist plucks out midrange notes. Then there are catchy guitar interludes, with artistic bass rhythms. The new bassist is Mia Wallace and she has performed with various thrash black bands in the nightclub circuits of Northern Italy. The bass music is strong, with heavy lines that add a lot of depth to the compositions. Sometimes there is fast chugging, diabolic overtones and also some deep catchy rhythms.
The new drummer is Ukri Suviletho, he is a member of Vermivore and has performed with some death metal bands in the Finnish underground scene. The drumming usually coincides with the bass music and is often hard to discern from the stringed instruments. There are a lot of shuffling patterns, some snare drum flare ups and prolonged drum rolls. The final number, Hecate
, busts out with a vicious guitar riff and powerful bass melody, as the lead guitarist blares out suspended high notes. Then the music switches to chaotic fury and Abbath
angrily shouts out his messages. “Hecate
awaits where crossroads split!” “Like entrails from a belly split!” The lead guitarist picks out high notes with extended hang time. Then the stringed musicians suddenly lash out with fast thrash styled riffs. Towards the end the music slows down to a majestic melody, with heavy bass lines.
The previous album had a moderate measure of low fidelity, which added some character. But this new release has a lot more unfiltered noise and sounds like it was re-recorded on a cassette tape from an old boom box. The increased dirty sound detracts from the intricacies of the guitar and drum work. The extra guitarist is an upgrade, which greatly enhances the sound and provides more depth. Some of the black metal textures sound like early Azaghal
. There are a lot of vicious thrash black styled attacks, with some latent similarities to Venom
. The new musicians all have had some experience from various strains of thrash, like thrash black or thrash death. The new bassist and drummer weren’t upgrades versus the previous lineup, but they do fit into these new musical schemes. Outstrider
is much more exciting and a couple of notches better than the debut album.