Scrawl from The Saw’s Butcher Shop: Abbath — Dread Reaver (2022) ALBUM REVIEW

Welcome to The Saw’s Butcher Shop, Butcher Crew! I am your host, The Saw, but you already knew that. Did you also know that Friday, March 25, 2022 marked the release date for Dread Reaver, the blistering new album from Abbath via Season of Mist? We’ve already talked about the three singles for the album – “Dream Cull,” “The Book of Breath,” and the title track, “Dread Reaver.” And seeing Abbath live, with Obituary, was an incredible experience!

Abbath Doom Occulta (aka, Olve Eikema), love him or hate him, you cannot ignore him! He has such a powerful personality and presence, along with his style and attitude, he evokes strong reactions of both emotions. Originally known as one of the founders of the legendary band, Immortal (BTW, before Immortal he was in Old Funeral), his newer band of his name-sake is a bruising example of raw talent and punishing sites and sounds.

Dread Reaver begins with “Acid Haze” and “Scarred Core.” These opening tracks are straight-up classic Black Metal bangers! Abbath are reminding us of their pedigree – their history in the genre, and their abilities to burn a bleak trail of destruction. The record comes out of the gates of hell with a beat-down.

After the two openers, we find ourselves in the meat of Dread Reaver. The single, “Dream Cull,” “Myrmidon” (an old Latin word for someone who does the dirty work, following orders to perfection), “The Deep Unbound,” and “Septentrion” (an old Latin word that was used for the old North Land; the Norse). These four are in the patented style of Abbath – a thrashy beating, with incredible riffs and punishing walls of sound, and Abbath’s baked-in blackened rasp. Each song, here, has it’s own special feature that really draws you in to the narrative of the record. “Septentrion” contains Abbath’s deepest gutterals of the entire album in the chorus, while “The Deep Unbound” has the most wicked riff. “Myrmidon” has great structure and a beefy hook for a chorus; along with some of Abbath’s quickest timed lyrics. And you already know that “Dream Cull” is a monster.

What follows these four tracks is a cover of Metallica’s “Trapped Under Ice.” The irony is not lost on me – the frozen north land, death, agony, suffering, and dread. It’s a solid cover of the classic song; not really a departure from the original, and Abbath’s blackened rasp actually compliments James Hetfield’s vocal style of the time.

The last two tracks are the other two singles – “The Book of Breath” and “Dread Reaver.” As the opening two tracks are great out of the gate, so these final two are the perfect closers for this wicked album. Abbath’s trademark sound and style are a sucker-punch! And these last two songs are perfect examples of musicianship and next level evolution for the genre as a whole. As noted in The Saw’s Single Review of “Dread Reaver,” the horrifying and dreadful vision of Abbath is strikingly terrifying. The title track paints a bleak picture of the future – chaos, unholy war, and unimaginable suffering. Look no further than the cover art for a glimpse into the world of Abbath.

Rating: 8.5/10! As Abbath helped form Black Metal back in the day, so he is forcing it to evolve today!

Favorite songs: Myrmidon, The Deep Unbound, Septentrion, Dread Reaver

Abbath Discography:

  1. Abbath (2016) Season of Mist
  2. Outstrider (2019) Season of Mist
  3. Dread Reaver (2022) Season of Mist

Stay Metal,

THE SAW