Absu: Inside the Abyss, This is Mythological Occult Metal

Check out the full Absu interview here!

The extreme metal scene is constantly evolving while the traditions that made the genre unique are fading away. Record labels are releasing albums from bands that serve up accessible music derived from artists that perfected their craft decades ago. In the modern age people can listen to whatever they want, but understanding what the artists wants to say can easily become lost. There is a reason Absu are at the forefront of metal coming from the U.S. The driving force behind the group is Proscriptor, lyricist, vocalist and drummer. It was clear in an e-mail interview with the man that he has a vision for Absu. The band is out to present their own set of challenges in the form of sonic distortions, melodies and subtlety. Stop eating those cookies made by the cookie cutter and take a bite of something driven by passion and thought that goes beyond the realm of average thinking.

“Mythological occult metal,” is the term Proscriptor uses to describe Absu. “Our lyrical content is based on themes such as Sumerian, Mesopotamian, Celtic mythology, Goetic, Chaos, Enochain Magic(k), Thelemic Mysticism, Metaphysics, Necromancy and Barbarism,” Proscriptor said. Absu’s name comes from a term for a subterranean ocean, “a mythical place that produces secrets,” Proscriptor said.

The multitudes of fact-based mythologies are played throughout the bands five full-lengths and their various EPs, demos and split albums. Absu’s last three fulllength albums were a trilogy, and the band’s latest self-titled record (released on Feb. 24) offers the first truly enchanting and challenging musical experience of the year.

When asked to sum up the musical equation of Absu’s sound Proscriptor said, “Take the lyrical aspects of Sumerian mythology, Celtic history, Thelema, Goetia and musically combine those elements with Slayer, Soft Machine, King Crimson and Kreator, then you would have a fine representation of what Absu is all about. It’s all a recipe of black, death, thrash, heavy and progressive metal.” Absu listeners can find all sorts of derivatives of extreme and classic metal culminating into a raw elemental blistering edge that from start to finish will leave listeners picking out chords, beats, guitar soloing, individual notes and vocal transitions. You may be done listening to an Absu album and have that stuffed feeling, but second helpings from music can’t give anyone discomfort.

Absu released their last full-length album of new material eight years ago. Though the band was poised to keep the momentum going in 2001 after the release of their extremely successful album Tara, things were put on hold after an injury to Proscriptor’s hand, which required surgery and rehab time. By the time he had recuperated, several key band members had moved on for their own reasons. But he stayed busy - working with Equimanthorn on a solo project, and with Starchaser Network and Melechesh, a band to which he still contributes lyrics and vocals. Proscriptor also started his own record label, Tarot Production, and played as a session musician in countless bands. Finally in 2007, Absu began working again.

Although the mythological terminology may be a bit confusing, the newest self-titled record is the epitome of the word epic. “The song ‘Magic(k) Square Cipher’ is a numerological song representing the Seal of Saturn and its ruling Sephirah. Amy (no, not a ballad about my wife - her name is Tiamatsu) is a story concerning a prevailing demon said to have been an imperative part of the underworld alongside Nergal,” Proscriptor said when describing some of the themes presented on Absu.

As important as the musical concept behind Absu is the packaging. “Internet piracy is a plague and an unquestionable poison to the music industry,” Proscriptor said. “CD/LP design and packaging is the ornamental topping that coats the music and that’s what’s missing with digital downloads in today’s industry.”

When all is said and done, all you have to do is listen to what Absu has to offer. Ultimately it is an extremely vivid form of art. The importance of this in the modern age is undeniable. It challenges your mind instead of numbing it.