Absolutum - Absolutum - (7.5/10)
Published on February 12, 2018
Absolutum was formed by four German metal scene veterans so they could pay homage to the classics of second wave black metal. Comprised of Fäulnis mainman Benjamin Feddern on vocals, Total Negation mainman Christoph Glanemann on drums, Valborg bassist/vocalist Jan Buckard, and Valborg guitarist/vocalist and Owl mainman Christian Kolf on guitars/keyboard, Absolutum’s lineup carries some heavy weight. Despite the ambitious nature of both Valborg and Owl, the eponymous debut EP from Absolutum regresses well over two decades of musical progression.
The riffing focuses on cold, frosty tremolo runs, eschewing melody in favor of wintry soundscapes. That being said, Kolf does a fine job of consistently assaulting the senses with rangy, almost trance-inducing trem riffs. There are a few spots where the frostbitten riffing coalesces into a fine, yet highly distorted melody, but it’s clearly not the focus. Where the riffing leaves one cold, the backing keys provide sparse melodies and a few chorus effects, lending a rather majestic and authentic feel to the music. The constant barrage of punishing blasts, clattering rolls, and loud, abrasive cymbals sounds like it was recorded with the same equipment as the early days, and when combined with the guitar tone, sounds like it was lifted straight out of 1995. Feddern’s vocals are a tad on the tortured, depressive black metal side of things, which lends a tormented air to an otherwise frostbitten album.
While Absolutum was clearly recorded in deference to the mid to early ’90s black metal scene, the depressive black metal leanings of Fäulnis and Total Negation do seem to shine through at times, most notably in the vocal performance and the occasional sweeping trem riff. The production keeps in line with most black metal from the mid 90’s , with a bit of fuzz and static surrounding the instrumentation, but not nearly enough to be a distraction or hindrance. Released on cassette through The Crawling Chaos Records, Absolutum’s debut is a cool little homage to days gone by, which, in turn, limits the target audience to second wave die hards. At fourteen minutes long, though, it won’t take long to digest, so there’s not much harm with a brief glance.