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Klan returns at last with TARA, the idealization of the styles Proscriptor
(drums, vocals), Shaftiel (guitar),
and Equitant (bass) have explored, particularly
on THE THIRD STORM OF CYTHRAUL, THE SUN OF TIPHARETH, and IN THE EYES
OF IOLDANACH. The forty page cd booklet features the lyrics as well as
a glossary to help the listener navigate the richly textured Celtic magick
of Absu. No less elaborate than the visual presentation of TARA is the
auditory, with a profound depth and complexity of muscianship and structure.
Often grouped in black metal, the approach of Absu encompasses the whole
spectrum of metal - thrash, death, black, progressive - with one element
seamlessley melded with another, and still another, united by a high degree
of technicality and/or speed.
TARA is broken
up into 2 phases: "Ioldanach's Pedagogy" and "The Cythraul Klan's Scrutiny."
The bagpipes opening Phase One segue into "Pillars of Mercy," which sets
the higher standard of aggression and precision to follow in the album's
fifty plus minutes. The intensity stays elevated through Phase One, peaking
at "The Cognate House of Courtly Witches Lies West of County Meath." Never
exactly straightforward in his previous drum credits, Proscriptor takes
it several steps further with precision double bass ("A
Shield with an Iron Face" and "The Cognate House") and tight snare
rolling ("From Ancient Times, Scarless Skies Burn
to Ash"), implementing jazz techniques while never compromising
the integrity of an extreme performance. His unmistakable vocal style
delivers lyrics which are carefully woven into the jagged arrangements.
Shaftiel provides a score of impressive riffs throughout, particularly
in Phase Two during "Four Crossed Wands (Spell 181)"
and "Vorago (Spell 182)."
a good long while for this album, and even in the face of increased expectations,
it proves itself worth the anticipation. Strong
and ambitious, TARA is one of the year's true gems.
This review copyright 2001 E.C.McMullen Jr.
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