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Review: Absu - The Third Storm Of Cythraul
The Third Storm Of Cythraul

Label: Osmose Productions
Year released: 1997
Duration: 37:41
Tracks: 9
Genre: Black Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: June 11, 2005
Reviewed by: Chaossphere
Readers Rating
The Third Storm Of Cythraul

Rated 4.11/5 (82.16%) (37 Votes)

For some bizarre reason, this seems to be a overlooked album in Absu's discography. Many fellate the intensely fast Tara, or the epic The Sun Of Tiphareth while ignoring the rest of their output. Granted, the first album was a somewhat dull excursion into early Darkthrone worship (and by early I mean the demo's and Soulside Journey), but afterwards they released a string of masterpieces, and there's certainly no reason to exclude The Third Storm Of Cythraul from those. Essentially it's a transitional album between the epic, warlike black metal of The Sun… and the more intense thrashings of Tara. A warm, analog production helps the album to effectively recreate the obvious 80's feel the band were going for here, and while the drumming isn't as snappy as it ended up on Tara, Proscriptor still lays waste to all in his path with a constant barrage of snare pounding and insane fills. Guitars, meanwhile, are a tour-de-force of insane thrashing punctuated by tremolo abuse and wild, chaotic solos. This is far more blatantly METAL than the melodic ambience so typical of black metal at the time , another factor which makes Absu so ahead of their time (despite being unashamedly retro, of course).

The songwriting wildly veers between grandiose epics (the first and last tracks in particular) and short, punchy Kreator-on-laudanum face-rippers, the absolute highlights of those being "Swords and Leather" and "Highland Tyrant Attack", both of which are modern thrash classics. There's also a brief cover of Morbid Scream's eponymous song, this being the band's second Morbid Scream cover (the first being ""The Coming Of War" on The Sun of Tiphareth, although that one was greatly reworked so much as to become closer to an original song). It's certainly better than hearing yet another damn cover of Kreator, Sodom or Bathory like every other band whips out these days, and really I'd prefer if many more modern black/thrash bands focused on dredging up totally obscure stuff to cover, as Absu have done here. Winding things up we get a few snatches of acoustics, sandwiched between which is the album's absolute highlight "…Of Celtic Fire We Are Born", which is simply a stunning epic which sounds like a natural follow-up to "Apzu". This being the first of the band's trilogy of albums based on Celtic mythology (the In The Eyes of Ioldanach mCD and Tara being the other two), the overall concept is very much rooted in a bizarre mix of ancient Druidish texts and Occult scenarios. None of it makes a hell of a lot of sense, but I'm sure they had a blast writing it all.

The digipak version also includes a bonus track with a ludicrously convoluted title, which seems to be a leftover from The Sun Of Tiphareth, since its production and songwritings sounds a lot more like the thin, cavernous approach of that album than the analog thickness of Third Storm. But that's neither here nor there since this version is long sold-out, but it's worth mentioning since it's a killer track. Too bad they didn't just include it on The Sun… though, because it deserves to be heard by all Absu fanatics, not confined to a limited edition release.

Other related information on the site
Review: Absu (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Abzu (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: Mythological Occult Metal: 1991-2001 (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Tara (reviewed by Christian Renner)
Review: Tara (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: The Sun Of Tiphareth (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Review: The Third Storm Of Cythraul (reviewed by Sargon the Terrible)
Video: Pillars Of Mercy (Live)
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