Album Review: Abbath – The Outstrider 7.5 (Black Metal)

Written by Zax

  • Abbath
  • The Outstrider
  • Black metal
  • Norway
  • 5th July 2019
  • 7.5/10

Anyone who knows anything about kvlt black metal or 2nd wave black metal knows Abbath. The man is an absolute legend. He was the front man of Immortal, and the corpse paint design he wears is easily the most immediately recognizable piece of black metal symbolism we have. After cutting ties with Immortal he formed a new eponymous band that has just released it’s sophomore album titled, The Outstrider.

All that being said, this is a pretty intimidating review to write considering all the history involved, the caliber of Abbath, and the fact that, well, I don’t like kvlt black metal very much. While I can appreciate the influence it has had and the fantastic sub-genres it has spawned, I feel it often falls short on It’s own. There are however some diamonds in the rough. Unlike a lot of it’s kvlt contemporaries, this album is produced very nicely – it teeters on the thin line between raw and clean and I think that’s perfect for this type of album. The riffs are very icy and serrated in typical black metal fashion. The drums flex furious blast-beats, and the bass lines are thick and punchy.

Abbath‘s vocals are these very traditional, cold, and evil black metal screeches that work perfectly against the pitch black music. There’s this one vocal technique he uses that I don’t really care for, but it’s used very sparingly and therefore isn’t enough to ruin anything. I wish I could think of words to describe it, but it’s truly something you have to hear for yourself. It appears at the very beginning of the second track titled “Bridge Of Spasms.” Structurally the album has 9 tracks, and is 38 minutes long. The first 8 tracks are new, original songs and it closes off with a cover of Bathory‘s “Pace Till Death” which is very well done.

This album is great at creating a very dark ominous atmosphere, as any good black metal album should. I guarantee this will be an obvious choice for big black metal fans, but to all the folks out there like me who aren’t big on the genre, or prefer the sub-genres, this comes highly recommended from me.

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