The Sun Of Tiphareth
Review by Luka on March 29, 2002.
After three demos and a death metal debut, the "Absu sound" is still much in the early stages of development, but they've clearly taken a step forward and moved more towards a modern Nordic black metal sound, starting to experiment more and more with complex song structures and elaborate lyric themes dealing with old mythology from different parts of the world. The production suggests the album was done on a relatively small budget but the ambition and potential of the three Texans shines strong.
While an album like this will scarcely excite metal fans today, the concept of synths, midieval instruments, and 8-minute epics was fresh in 1995. Soon after this, every second black metal was doing it and Absu lost ground. Their geographical location in the southern sands of Texas didn't help either, but they pushed on and built a name for themselves. "The Sun of Tiphareth" was an essential building block in early in their journey.
The synths are not nearly as dominant as in, say, Emperor, but rather serve as the finishing atmospheric touch over the guitars. Most of the riffs come across very strong and impressive even with the poor production that muddies and distorts the guitars. Bass is also considerably more emphasized than traditional black metal, but what I am most impressed with is Absu's ability to write 7-minute songs and longer that don't get boring! I can think of a dozen bands that ought to take this lesson from them. Each new riff compliments and builds upon the one before it and takes the song one step further in the right direction. The problem is that often the riffs themselves don't rise much higher in complexity or creativity than ordinary black metal guitarwork, and thus the very core of the songs is weak.
I'm tempted to call this just another generic black metal album but Absu definitely stand an inch taller than the crowd. One notable advantage is there is virtually no blast beats, and the drummer is actually the central member of the band. The songs show true potential and talent but only need a little cleaning up and perhaps a more advanced studio to make them great. They’ve got their themes and lyrics perfected now the music has to follow. The vocals turn me off too.
Bottom Line: A worthy black metal album with enough innovation and experimentation to spark some genuine interest in the metal world. Just needs a bit of improvement.
Rating: 7.2 out of 10