Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Absolva - Anthems to the Dead

UK's Absolva is a band formed in 2012 by members of Fury UK and has had a strange history. After releasing one full length in 2012 they released a live CD and live DVD in 2013, which is strange for any band. Lead guitarist and lead vocalist Chris Appleton is the brother of Luke Appleton who, along with being a member of Fury UK with brother Chris, is the current bass player for Iced Earth. So now Absolva has released it's second full length album, Anthems of the Dead and what you get is some melodic riff driven traditional metal. Guest appearances on this album by bassist brother Luke on a few songs as well as Saxon axeman Doug Scarratt tells you what should be expected.

This band is not going to be known for creating anything groundbreaking but instead they just play heavy metal that's catchy and loaded with riffs. It seems that Chris Appleton is the star of this show being two of the best parts of this album, the vocals and the lead guitars. Vocally he sounds a bit like Jonny Lindqvist (Nocturnal Rites) with a touch of Andi Deris (Helloween), although he has much more of a range than either when he wants to and only sounds like those guys in his mid register. The solos on this album also stand out because of his sheer technical abilities as well as the fact that they are catchy and tasteful. The opener, "The Devil's Mouth" starts things off with massive traditional metal riffs and blazing melodies. Mid paced for most of the song there are some impressive speedy parts and the bridge before the solo has a great melody and a high note by Mr. Appleton worthy of Daniel Heiman. As a lead guitarist he reminds me of Criss Oliva a bit in his execution.

The songs here range from the more speedy power metal types to songs that have those mid paced gallops but each song is unique in and of itself. This album does not get boring because of the variety of songs on here.  The title track is one of the more speedy to mid paced songs that has riffs that are crushing and melodies that are infectious. The bridge leading to the chorus has both clean and acoustic guitars that is melodic and catchy slowing down in the middle to a beautiful passage right before the solo comes in and takes you away. This is how I like my metal...varying sounds that compliment and add dimension to the songs. "The Alter & The Cross" is an acoustic number that is only two and a half minutes long but is one of the better ballad type songs I've heard from any of the big named traditional/power metal bands of late and a nice way to bridge the first and second half of the album.

The second half of the album kicks things right back into high gear with "Live for the Fight" which is an ass kicker from start to finish with some impressive riffing mixed with great melodies. This half of the album also sees the band going in a more epic territory with longer songs like "Soul Remains" clocking in at around six minutes but with enough going on to keep you interested...and headbanging! The solos are fucking godly full of melody and feeling. "Silent Sacrifice" ends the album with a combination of galloping tempos and slower acoustic passages with great melodies. This seems like the only time on the album where the band seems to be overreaching a bit. The song clocks in at just over seven minutes and there are a few spots in the middle that could have been axed to make the song a bit shorter but the solo that follows kinda makes up for it.

All in all this is a balls to the wall heavy metal album. It has everything that a fan of traditional metal could want, soaring melodies, classic riffing, and monumental soloing.I'm not all that familiar with their parent band, Fury UK, but I do know that I like this band. With only two full length albums, I'm hoping there will be more from this band in the future.


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