By Bendik Sorensen
Abbath; he looks like he could t seamlessly into the lineup for KISS. He acts like in a childish, almost satirical way, but yet the man is a black metal icon. He and his former band, “Immortal,” have never been a part of the “murder, church burning” controversy that surrounded the genre in the 1990s. Rather he became a cult icon in the world of metal because he has never taken himself or his band and music too seriously.
Now, Olve ‘Abbath’ Eikemo has gone solo. It sounds just as cold and good as his former adventures to the “kingdom cold.”
The album, conveniently titled “Abbath,” is his first attempt by himself since he started in 1990. The album starts off with conventional, fast paced groove in two big sounding tracks. Dissonant chords over rumbling drums and grim vocals make out the tracks, “To War!” and, “Winterbane” before it is slowed down. An acoustic guitar plucked briskly, in what sounds like a huge hall. It’s quiet, and the guitar echoes off the walls. It is cold.
The plucking is disrupted by the fastest and loudest track on the album, “Ashes of the Damned.” Fast paced drumming, and even big band horn sections is evident, before the album continues into a more conventional few tracks. Not as intense or “atmospherical,” but just as heavy. It feels like a break in between intervals at the gym. It’s needed and appreciated.
Shortly after, we’re back at it. Intense and heavy. The latter half of the album is where “Abbath” sounds the most like old “Immortal.” Contrasts in tempo, volume and cadences characterize the rest of the album.
It does not seem like Eikemo misses his old bandmates. He thrives alone. The self-titled album has a cold soundscape that “Immortal” fans are familiar with, but it is not the same. It is something new and refreshing. It’s as if Eikemo has a new boost.
“Abbath” is out now on Season of Mist. He is also currently on tour and comes to New York April 12, at Webster Hall.