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Type: Full-Length
Release Date: 2001
Genre: Black, Thrash
1. Tara
2. Pillars Of Mercy
3. A Shield With An Iron Face
4. Manannan
5. The Cognate House Of Courtly Witches Lies West Of County Meath
6. She Cries The Quite Lake
7. Yrp Lluyddawc
8. From Ancient Times (Starless Skies Burn To Ash)
9. Four Crossed Wands (Spell 181)
10. Vorago (Spell 182)
11. Bron (Of The Waves)
12. Stone Of Destiny (For Magh Slecht And Ard Righ)
13. Tara (Recapitulation)

Review by Chad on January 31, 2002.

The Cythraul clan of Absu have unleashed a new masterpiece of "mythological occult metal". "Tara", the bands latest album for Osmose is a grand concept album of the highest order, telling of a hill (Tara) in Scotland that was used as place of sacrifice and worship by the ancient Celts.

The album begins with something never heard on a black metal album before...A bagpipe intro! After this, the band storms into 'Pillers of Mercy' which is a vicious onslaught showcasing everything this unique band has to offer. Each song on this release stands on it's own, as they are all quite amazing. Long time fans will notice that Absu has become much more aggressive, with the slower passages the band is known for being few and far between. For me, this is a good thing, because when this album really gets going, I don't want it to stop.

One thing that is immediately noticeable to me is that these guys are perfectionists. Every instrument is used to it's full potential. The guitars are a mix between black metal and Slayer on speed. The guitars on the whole album have a vintage thrash meets Marduk sound, but without sounding unoriginal, and still sounding very modern. The punishing drumming of mainman Proscripter deserves special mention. His drumming is absolutely amazing, with some of the most creative rhythms and fills I've ever heard, and they are fast as hell, somewhat reminding me of Flo from Cryptopsy. Just listen to tracks such as 'Manannan' and 'The Congnate House of Courtly Witches Lies West of County Meath' He is definitely one of the best drummers in metal. The vocals (also done by Proscripter) are of the typical black metal style, but with variety (a few King Diamond-esque screams are scattered about).

This album is awesome, and it holds your interest throughout the 13 tracks. The standouts for me would have to be 'Pillars of Mercy', 'The Cognate House...' and the epic 'Stone of Destiny' with Prosripter's vocal dramatics truly shining through on this track. The packaging is nothing short of phenomenal. The booklet is 38 pages long, and includes the stories behind every song and even includes a complete dictionary of archaic Celtic language used throughout the album!!! There is even a note from Proscripter saying that actual soil and leaves from the Tara hilltop have been mixed in with the paint used on the booklet! This is without a doubt the most wonderful and comprehensive booklet to ever come with an album.

Bottom line: This is a solid album through and through that should be picked up by everyone into black/thrash metal, or any kind of metal for that matter. You won't be disappointed.

Categorical Ratings Breakdown

Musicianship: 10
Atmosphere: 9
Production: 10
Originality: 9
Overall: 10

Rating: 9.6 out of 10