Abbath – Dread Reaver (Album Review)

Imagine the deepest, darkest forests of Scandinavia opening up into a field of Black Metal glory with everyone’s favorite Black Metal Comedian, Abbath, running into the center. Quite the image, that is what the latest Abbath album Dread Reaver hails into.

The third studio album since Olve Eikemo (aka Abbath Doom Occulta) departed from Immortal, Dread Reaver arrived on Friday, March 25, 2022 via Seasons Of Mist. A direct follow up to 2019’s Outstrider, Dread Reaver churns any normal blood flow into a heavy black sludge. Yes, oddly this is a good element that can only be appreciated upon a further deep dive into the album…so if that is your thing, read on.

Dread Reaver is once again unmistakably Abbath, which has always been much more melodic than Immortal, often coined as Black-n-Roll. On this new album however, Abbath also decides to incorporate a Metallica cover “Trapped Under Ice” which brings in some Thrash fun and high energy for fans to enjoy. Starting off the 10-track album “Acid House” chimes off with speedy guitar riffs and the distinguished deep vocal range of Abbath.

After this decent opening anthem, “Scarred Core” features heavy vocals along with aggressive, catchy beats. Then the intro to “Dream Cull” lends itself to a melodic mountainscape that eventually accelerates into the creative drumming followed by a focused fantastical adventure. Moving into “Myrmidon” the Black-n-Roll sets a scene reminiscent of an old Motörhead tune. Later on, “The Book Of Breath” is definitely worth waiting for. The third to last song on the entire album, it provides the most clearly structured composition that sifts through the old ways, and old days with a modern pillage pushing against the madness. Thereafter, the title-track is as you would expect, a hyped up Abbath sound that provides a solid thrust to the end.

Whether your Black Metal style of choice is in the old school or the more melodic Rock-n-Roll type riffs,  Dread Reaver provides a promising opportunity. It is always anyone’s guess as to what will come out of Abbath’s interestingly woven mind, but it’s never boring. All Abbath’s influences seem to make light in one way or another on this album. While as a whole Dread Reaver delivers a solid result, there are a few songs that just do not speak as strongly as some of those off earlier efforts. Then, there is the cover art, that while not unusual, could be a bit more appealing. Regardless, Abbath, with the help of his stellar team Ukri Suvilehto (drums), Ole André Farstad (guitars), and Mia Wallace (bass), show the world what musical influences help him sleep at night. 

Cheers to the future of Abbath’s solo career in hopes it will continue with a dark and desirable breath of fresh Norwegian air, Cryptic Rock gives Dread Reaver 4 out of 5 stars.







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