Album Review – Abbath / Abbath (2016)

The one and only Abbath takes a new step in his career with a brand new band and an album that will definitely be among the best releases of the year.


abbathsoloface_638Olve Eikemo, Abbath Doom Occulta, or simply Abbath, you name it, is one of the most iconic musicians in the Norwegian Black Metal scene since the 1990’s as frontman of Immortal. However, in 2015, fans got caught by surprise when Demonaz announced Abbath’s departure from the band and they would legally battle for the naming rights of Immortal. According to Abbath’s side of the story, he wanted to rehearse and record a new album, but Demonaz and Horgh, now with families and children, didn’t want to enter the studio that soon. On the other side, Immortal members said that Abbath’s personal problems ruined the band’s plans. What could have meant the end of something really amazing such as Immortal’s legacy turned out to be the beginning of a new era when Abbath announced he was forming his self-named solo band.

To join him on this new project, Abbath recruited the well known bassist King ov Hell (Gorgoroth, Ov Hell, God Seed) and a mysterious drummer called “The Creature” – which we found out in December, when he left the band, to be Kevin Foley, the French drummer who has been playing with bands like Benighted, Disavowed, Sepultura, Sabaton and others. The band debuted live in June 2015, at Tuska Open Air, in Finland, even before the recording of the album and during the second half of 2015 they released a few songs to the fans. A few days after Creature’s departure, Per Valla, the Norwegian guitarist that played on their live concerts also left the band. Some might think this is not a good start for a new band, and it really isn’t, but they promised that their very first album was to be released on January 22, 2016, and here we have Abbath, a great Black Metal piece that every fan of this genre should take a listen at.

To War opens the album showing right from the start that Abbath is not here to delivery low quality music. It has an amazing work on bass and drums, great riffs adding melody to the song and the main man’s growls sounding better than ever. There is even time for a great melodic guitar solo. Winter Bane comes next and keeps all the heaviness going on, again with all the band members working in harmony – Creature brought to songs such as this one a lot of rhythm by coming from outside Black Metal, and the result is great. Next, the first seconds of Ashes of the Damned might trick you that this is a slow song, but in reality it is fierce and raw with the addition of fast guitar riffs, double bass and even some keyboards.

abbathband2015promo1_638After a start of pure destruction, Abbath slow the pace just a little bit with Ocean of Wounds, but you still know you’re listening to some really good Black Metal. All the anger comes back on the next track, Count the Dead – this song was released as a single in December in a very special 7” vinyl edition, limited to 500 copies worldwide. Fenrir Hunts is the heaviest song of the album and it was the first one played live to the fans, back in Finland. It is impossible to stay insensitive to this masterpiece and probably you’ll bang your head until your neck hurts.

In Root of the Mountain, we can recover our breath after all the aggressiveness delivered with another amazing melodic Black Metal track with a darker atmosphere. But the album couldn’t end in a better way than with more loudness to our ears in Eternal, closing this cycle with the same heaviness it all started. But wait, there is more! For those who got the “Count the Dead” single vinyl, as a B-side there’s a cover of Riding on with the Wind, byJudas Priest, also available on digital version. This is not the best of covers but, well, it is a good tribute to the Metal Gods. There is also a second cover as a bonus track: Nebular Ravens Winter, by Immortal, and if you think you know what to expect, you’re wrong. This version, recorded live in studio, sounds even louder than the original song.

Abbath is already available in its entirely for streaming on Soundcloud, and you can order your copy at the Season of Mist webstore and on iTunes. The band will embark in January and February on a tour around Europe, and then, in March and April, in North America, as headliners of the Decibel Magazine Tour, alongside with the bands High on Fire, Skeletonwitch and Tribulation – for both tours, Abbath named Gabe Seeber (The Kennedy Veil) to fill the place left by The Creature. So, keep an eye on Abbath’s Facebook page for more news and updates and if you have the chance to see this concert, please go! This is a must see in 2016. Will Abbath ever work with Immortal again? Who the f*ck knows? It is something we really can’t predict. But with this new band and the album, the man didn’t disappoint and showed he still has a lot of creativity flowing through his veins and a lot to deliver to his fans.

Best moments of the album: To War, Winter Bane, Count the Dead and Fenrir Hunts.

Worst moments of the album: None.

Released in 2016 Season of Mist

Track listing
1. To War 5:35
2. Winter Bane 6:49
3. Ashes of the Damned 3:51
4. Ocean of Wounds 4:44
5. Count the Dead 4:57
6. Fenrir Hunts 4:38
7. Root of the Mountain 5:40
8. Eternal 4:36

Special Edition bonus tracks
9. Riding on the Wind (Judas Priest cover) 3:04
10. Nebular Ravens Winter (Immortal cover) 4:16

Band members
Abbath Doom Occulta – vocals, guitars
King ov Hell – bass
The Creature – drums

Metal Chick of the Month – Militia Vox


The Black Goddess Rises!

I guess I don’t need to say that any type of prejudice is stupid and should be banned from this planet, no matter if it’s related to sex, race, religion, sexual orientation, nationality or anything else. Unfortunately (and please don’t ask me why), Heavy Metal has always been seen as a racist genre, like if it was music for “white men only”, with no girls, gays or black people allowed. However, the situation nowadays is quite the opposite, as we pretty much embrace any kind of person to our tribe of metalheads, which just makes our experience as headbangers a lot more beautiful and interesting.

It’s still weird though that there are very few black men in Heavy Metal, like Derrick Green (Sepultura), Phil Lynott (Thin Lizzy), Lajon Witherspoon (Sevendust) and Howard Jones (ex-Killswitch Engage), even with the roots of heavy music having strong connections to Blues and Jazz. The numbers are even worse for black women in heavy music (it seems they’re almost all doing some generic R&B), but maybe our Heavy Metal babe this month can inspire some ebony beauties to grab a microphone, a guitar, a bass or the drumsticks and start playing some heavy tunes louder than hell. She’s a singer, songwriter, actress, VJ, model, and above all, a true headbanger: the Black Goddess Militia Vox, also known as “The Songslayer”, “The Metal Goddess”, or simply MilitiA.

Based in New York City, NY, United States, Militia has all the attributes we look for in a Heavy Metal frontwoman: she’s not only pretty, but also has a very powerful voice and a unique performance on stage. Most of us know her for being the awesome frontwoman of the band Judas Priestess, the world’s only all-girl tribute to the METAL GODS Judas Priest, but she’s also the lead singer and songwriter of Progressive Hard Rock band Swear On Your Life, the leading lady of Dee Snider’s Heavy Metal horror orchestra Van Helsing’s Curse, and also the “Rock Goddess” of the Brooklyn based Afropunk movement. You can check many of her electrifying performances on YouTube, like these ones where she performs Judas Priest’s unparalleled Heavy Metal anthems Breaking the Law, Desert Plains and Riding On The Wind with the Judas Priestess, or this one with Living Colour playing the classic Cult of Personality.

She has also performed and collaborated in her extensive career with important names in the world of music such as Dee Snider, Cyndi Lauper, Nancy Sinatra, Ana Gasteyer (Saturday Night Live), and many other, as well as appeared in several films, TV shows and other music projects. In 2013, she staged two provocative and sexy cabaret-style concerts called “MilitiA.’s Roadhouse Blues” and “MilitiA’s Heavy Metal House of Voodoo” in New York City and in Los Angeles, and released the song Covet (which can be seen in the video below), from her multimedia project and upcoming album The Villainess.

All of those projects just prove she’s a nonstop hardworking musician who’s absolutely crazy for heavy music, but not only that, she’s also a well-known black model, having appeared in several calendars, promos, ads and spokesmodeled for top hair product companies, makeup brands and various clothing lines such as Manic Panic, Paul Mitchell, Harley Davidson, Shiseido Cosmetics, Hard Candy, and others. If you are a girl and want to see this non-musical side of Militia, check out her Militious Makeup videos on YouTube.

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In regards to our diva being a black girl in a music genre commonly ruled by white guys, Global News’ weekly investigative news magazine program 16×9 has recently broadcasted on TV an awesome segment with Militia and Heavy Metal journalist and photographer  Laina Dawes, author of the book What Are You Doing Here? Black Women in Heavy Metal, talking about the black female experience in the world of heavy music. The segment is called FULL STORY: Black Metal, featuring very interesting interviews with both girls, including also some footage of Judas Priestess kicking fuckin’ ass live. There are also two other parts of it, which can be seen here and here. Both online articles and video are very original and truly inspiring for any black girls that love Heavy Metal from the bottom of their hearts.

The last fact I wanted to share with you about Militia is a funny one that confirms there’s no such thing as each type of music is made for a specific type of person. “Just so you know, I fucking hate reggae so much. I can’t even tell you. I hear it and I want to like dig out my fucking ear drums with ice picks. Fucking. Hate. Reggae.”, says Militia. I believe no one expects to hear that from a black woman, right? Is she wrong for saying that? Absolutely not, she’s just being honest about her taste for music, and at the same time she wants to show us all music has nothing to do with sex, race or religion: it’s something that comes from our hearts and souls, something that unites us no matter who we are. Truth be told, we desperately need more Militias in the world.

Militia’s Official Facebook page
Militia’s Official Twitter

“My mom was like, ‘Please don’t be into that. That’s, like, redneck music. Stop listening to it.’ And I’m like ‘I don’t give a fuck, I love it.’ Like, it’s so exciting to me.” – Militia Vox