Drummer and vocalist Proscriptor McGovern is one intelligent dude. His lyrics for the first two Absu albums focused on Sumerian mythology, the next two on Celtic mythology and Abzu is the second disc in a planned trilogy on the Enochian Magick System. Yep, the Enochian Magick System, something that I have never even remotely heard of, yet alone would be able to write three discs about. Now, it’s true that I’m currently reading a book on the history of Nu-Metal, so maybe I would know more about things like this if my literary topic wasn’t the debut P.O.D. album but still, c’mon. And this from a group formed in Texas no less. You come to expect these things from Norse bands but not really ones from the states.
So, the group released Tara in 2001 which will probably go down as their masterpiece, and then took some years off before coming back strong with a self-titled disc in 2009. Early on they were more death metal than anything else and then progressed into a black metal realm before mixing it with thrash and speed metal. And if you really break it down, that’s what Abzu is – a speed metal record with many blackened elements over top. With most really good conceptual bands like this, each album seems like a natural progression from the next however I don’t really know that you have that here. Abzu feels like its own beast altogether, faster and more fierce than previous works and while part of a trilogy, a different record musically than Absu was.
“Circles of the Oath” very well could surpass any track on Tara in terms of sheer quality and enjoyment and the 14 minute six-part “A Song For Ea” combines the elements above with a progressive feel, tying the whole album together. Even with a song of that length the disc is only 36 minutes in length, making me wonder why they couldn’t simply put part III at the end of this record? However, that gives me something to look forward to in a few more years. So for now, I’ll enjoy Abzu as one of the most interesting and exciting records to come out in 2011.