Abbath - Outstrider
Season Of Mist
Black Metal
8 songs (35' 11")
Release year: 2019
Abbath, Season Of Mist
Reviewed by Andy
Major event

When Abbath broke with his bandmates in Immortal and went off on his own, there was little concern that his upcoming solo album would be a dud, given his past songwriting history with Immortal. And so it happened: Abbath was reliably solid, though with a little less cold ferocity than we might expect from a former Son of Northern Darkness. But legendary musicians can be difficult to work with, and sure enough, bandmates exited after Abbath's debut, one after the other, until he had a completely new lineup for Outstrider.

Outstrider is unmistakably an Abbath production, full of grating riffs and his trademark croaked roar, and like the debut, it's a bit like a cross between I's Between Two Worlds and an Immortal record. We've heard a lot of this before, but Abbath's riffing sounds so good that if he released the same album over and over, and it sounded mostly like Immortal, he could probably get away with it. Yet he does try to make a few changes, and with mixed results, especially in the uninspired shredding of lead guitarist Ole Andre Farstad. This shredding shows up at intervals in many tracks, and next to Abbath's classic rhythm work it often sounds generic and incongruous. At its best it sounds like some of the solos that Bathory tracks used to have; at its worst, it sounds like it belongs on a different album.

Abbath's attempts to try out different vocals in the last album are over and done with. He now sounds like he did in Immortal, which few people will be sorry to hear; and Bridge of Spasms and Hecate bring back welcome memories of frozen Blashyrkh chaos, at least when the generic solos are absent. Nor do the tracks with thrash and hard rock elements really fall flat; with the powerhouse of Abbath's riffing driving them, they stay afloat a lot better than they would in other hands. As if to underscore the Bathory influences on Outstrider, the final track is a Bathory cover. Abbath can't quite put the sheer ferocity of Quorthon into this song, but his throat-ripping vocals are still more than equal to covering it.

With Abbath's unique vocal and guitar approach on display, Outstrider will satisfy. But he hasn't hit a winning combination yet; it seems like he's still trying things out, writing Immortal-esque tunes while covering songs he loved in the past with a hired backing band, just as he did in Abbath. Though this is quite good, perhaps the next album will branch out further.

Killing Songs :
Bridge of Spasms, Hecate, Pace till Death
Andy quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Abbath that we have reviewed:
Abbath - Abbath reviewed by Jared and quoted 90 / 100
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