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Shadow Music Ryan Harding Review by
Ryan Harding
ABSU: Tara
Osmose Productions

The Cythraul 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)."

We've waited 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.


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This review copyright 2001 E.C.McMullen Jr.

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