Abbath – Abbath (Season of Mist, 2016)
Black metal’s Abbath has always been distinguished by his love for all things rock & roll, as well as his penchant for taking the piss out of the genre’s incredibly self-serious conceit. It’s disappointing then that Abbath, his first release following a messy, public split with his former band Immortal, is such a shockingly lifeless affair. Featuring overly sterile production and third-rate black metal riffs, none of the new band’s elements play to Abbath’s eccentric strengths, his presence still as commanding and unbridled as ever. A sudden, fleeting foray into orchestral bombast on “Ashes of the Damned” essentially encapsulates the album’s biggest problem—a disheartening lack of diversity—while providing glimpses into the Abbath album that could have been.
Trial Track: “Ashes of the Damned”