Album Review – Absolva / Fire In The Sky (2022)

One of the torchbearers of contemporary Heavy Metal made in the UK is back with their sixth opus, bearing all the hallmarks of the genre plus an even greater level of intensity.

After their critically acclaimed album Side By Side, released back in 2020, Manchester, England-based four-piece Melodic Heavy Metal squad Absolva is back in action with an ass-kicking new album, entitled Fire In The Sky, bearing all the hallmarks of old school British metal music that vocalist and guitarist Christopher Appleton, guitarist Luke Appleton, bassist Karl Schramm and drummer Martin Mcnee are known for, plus an even greater level of intensity. Recorded at Rocksector Records, mixed and produced by Chris Appleton himself, mastered by Ade Emsley at Table of Tone Mastering Ltd., and  featuring a classic artwork by Alberto Quirantes of Akirant Illustration, Fire in the Sky deals with an array of contemporary issues that impact everyone’s lives, such as alcohol and drug problems and the all too familiar effects of the global pandemic. “Absolva is usually known for the positive themes in our lyrics, yet this time we’ve been drawn toward some darker issues. The pandemic was a rough ride for most people and I personally found it difficult to take, with a mix of effects on my life. Like so many people we suffered the pain of losing a very good friend to the virus and then more generally the negative effects on our music industry as a whole were obviously really bad,” commented Chris about the band’s biggest inspirations for the new album.

Demon Tormentor is pure, unfiltered Heavy Metal from the very first second, with Chris and Luke pulverizing everything and everyone with their strident riffs while Karl and Martin smash their rumbling instruments in great fashion, starting the album on an electrifying mode. Then continuing their incendiary path of classic heavy music we have Burn Inside, reminding me of the more recent creations by Blaze Bayley (for obvious reason) and with Chris once again showcasing his vocal potency accompanied by his bandmates’ epic backing vocals; and rev up your engines for a Heavy Metal feast infused with Southern Rock and Metal nuances titled Addiction, perfect for raising your fists in the air to the pounding beats by Martin and the striking solos by the band’s dynamic guitar duo. Melodious lines permeate the air in What Does God Know, a power ballad by the quartet where Chris declaims the song’s words with tons of passion, whereas Stand Your Ground is another straightforward display of their Melodic Heavy Metal, albeit not as exciting as the other songs of the album, with Chris and Luke still presenting a great job on the guitars.

The title-track Fire In The Sky puts the band back on track, exhaling fire, electricity and epicness, or in other words, it’s a song perfect for hitting the road while Martin hammers his drums in great fashion, not to mention how sharp the song’s riffs sound and feel. Chris keeps delivering his trademark vocals and riffs in Man For All Seasons, supported by the always melodic and thunderous bass by Karl in an old school but at the same time modern version of heavy music, and get ready to bang your head nonstop together with the Absolva boys in Galloglaigh, a beyond pure British tune with their Judas Priest-inspired guitars adding fire to the overall sonority. Historic Year brings to our ears six minutes of epicness in the form of music, alternating between mid-tempo passages and sheer adrenaline thanks to the awesome riffage blasted by Chris and Luke. It will sound fantastic if played live, I might say, whereas Refuse To Die is a brilliant way to close the album, offering us all another round of their vibrant and melodious Heavy Metal with Chris being on absolute fire on vocals while Karl and Martin keep demolishing our souls with their undisputed kitchen.

As already mentioned in our review for Side By Side, you can get in touch with Chris, Luke, Karl and Martin through their official Facebook page and their Instagram, subscribe to their YouTube channel for more of their music and stream all of their creations on Spotify, and of course purchase Fire In The Sky from their own Big Cartel page or from Apple Music. Although as mentioned by Chris the themes explored in their new album might be darker than usual, the quartet managed to turn all that obscurity and negativity into flammable, striking metal music, proving they’re much more than just another Heavy Metal band hailing from the UK, and therefore inviting us all to join them in their quest for heavy music for many years to come no matter what.

Best moments of the album: Demon Tormentor, Fire In The Sky and Refuse To Die.

Worst moments of the album: Stand Your Ground.

Released in 2022 Rocksector Records

Track listing
1. Demon Tormentor 3:36
2. Burn Inside 3:54
3. Addiction 4:25
4. What Does God Know 4:23
5. Stand Your Ground 5:07
6. Fire In The Sky 4:03
7. Man For All Seasons 4:00
8. Galloglaigh 4:06
9. Historic Year 6:00
10. Refuse To Die 3:06

Band members
Christopher Appleton – lead vocals, lead guitar
Luke Appleton – rhythm and lead guitar, backing vocals
Karl Schramm – bass
Martin Mcnee – drums

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