At this point of time if you’ve been a longtime fan of Immortal, chances are you should know by now who Abbath is. Since the days of his contributions in making the most adventurous and influential records in black metal history, Abbath has always been one of the most notable and well regarded vocalists in extreme metal today. After he left Immortal around 2015, I was hesitant and skeptical on what the future was gonna hold for Abbath in terms his musical endeavors but however, it wasn’t until 2016 when he released the self titled record Abbath in which to me it sounded like a modern day Immortal but with his own versatility and style. Fast forward to 2022, we have the latest offering by Abbath titled Dread Reaver which is his third full-length recording and is the continuation to 2019’s sophomore release of Outstrider and is released through Season Of Mist.
What I really liked about this album I’ve noticed Abbath has gotten way better over the years not only as a human being, but his commanding vocals, guitar tones and songwriting is vastly improved over Outstrider and to me this record is perhaps his most distinctive and flavoring records to date. From the melodically driven guitar tones, rumbling bass, thunderous and audible drum fills and production bringing a clearer and crystal sharp sound to the mix, this album also contains some Scandinavian soundscapes in which it gives it that lo-fi and contemporary approach in which I think the members of this project does a great job in contributing every counterpart leading to such depth and development in watching the music continously to improve after each listen.
This album also contains some traditional heavy metal roots with some modern black metal stylings and this production is also polished and well executed in which to me most of these tracks feel atmospheric and tuneful at times. But when you do hear tracks such as The Deep Unbound, Dream Cull, Acid Haze and The Book Of Breath features tasty guitar strings, jazzy and almost bluesy hooks, and slow tempos perfectly captured that first wave of Norwegian black metal landmark well as adding some thrash metal leads in which it kind of feels like traveling back to the mid 80’s as if Bathory were to make a album in today’s era of extreme metal this be the final product. Those who are fans of Immortal or Abbath in general will definitely get a kick out of Dread Reaver and to me this is Abbath’s finest material to date.
Overall Score: 8.5/10
Review by Jake Butler