Album Review: Abbath - Outsrider

Artist: Abbath

Album: Outsrider

Genre: Black Metal

Review by: Steve Jenkins

Let's face it, Abbath is probably one of the most well known names in the black metal community. He's a legend, an icon and the former frontman for the mighty Immortal who remain one of the greatest bands in the genre. When Abbath left Immortal, a lot of people weren't really sure what to think? Would he make it on his own? Would Immortal still make kick-ass music? Well the answer to both, is yes.

Abbath isn't afraid to have a laugh or make a joke and he definitely is not one of those super serious types that's always mad and angry at the world who most might associate with black metal, because let's face it, there are plenty of those people. Abbath is very much a character, an image if you will of what black metal might represent. With the corpse paint, the long black hair, the devil horns, you might as well go ahead and call him the Gene Simmons of black metal. But let's not go there. Let's get on with the music.

This is his second full length album since leaving Immortal back in 2015, with his self titled debut was fairly well received overall. As much as he is a comical and somewhat bizarre individual, when you hear Outsrider, you can tell it's definitely time to get serious.

The album opens with "Calm In Ire (Of Hurricane) which includes an intro that builds up for a couple of minutes before we get into some raw brutality. It's a strong opening track and it is probably the sort of song most people would expect to hear on an Abbath album. It gets much better from there, with "Bridge Of Spasms" and "The Artifex" dishing up an all-out thrash assault with pure carnage. These two tracks are speedy, raw, heavy, basically meat and potatoes black metal with an Abbath twist. "Harvest Pyre" is up next and this song was the single prior to the albums release and received a lot of positive attention, and rightfully so. This is some really good stuff, a standout for sure, and I think probably the most Immortal-esque song we've ever heard Abbath do. There's definitely some "At The Heart Of Winter" vibes on this song and that's a very good thing to hear, I only wish there was a little more of this. The album keeps going along at a pretty good pace with "Scythewinder" and "Hecate" jumping out as very strong tracks.

This album is definitely not a game changer for black metal, nor does it try to be. But it's very well produced, heavy sounding, modern black metal by someone who is a very well respected artist. I just think there were really no surprises on Outsrider, and I wanted there to be, it was just a little too predictable. Maybe I expected too much? But I digress. Abbath is continuing on his path to create ferocious, inspired and appealing black metal for the masses. Horns up!

7.5 out of 10.

Outsrider is out now on Season Of Mist.

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