Absolva – Anthems To The Dead


Review by Tony Gaskin


Release date: 5 May 2014

When you give your latest album such a bold title then you’d better have the balls and the material to back it up, and with their latest release, Absolva have both in shed loads. Within seconds you are banging your head and raising the horns as ‘The Devil’s Mouth’ opens up with a full throttle assault, all guns blazing. No gentle intro here! As you would expect from such a talented guitarist as Chris Appleton, the riffs and licks are pure old school British Heavy Metal.

I was a bit concerned that reverting back to a three piece a la Fury UK might impinge on the depth and complexity that they achieved on the Flames of Justice release, but lessons have been learnt and experience gained and if anything this new bunch of songs are even more impressive, plus drafting in Luke Appleton (Iced Earth) and Doug Scarratt (Saxon) to guest on a number of tracks has enabled Chris to really let go with his creativity.

The fast and heavy theme continues with ‘Never Back Down’ and the title track ‘Anthems to the Dead’. So four tracks in and yes, every track has been an anthem, but I like a bit of variety in an album and this band’s talents are not just limited to the hard aggressive stuff. ‘The Alter and the Cross’ is a beautifully crafted song with haunting vocals showcasing the versatility of the band. But this is just an interlude, a few short minutes to catch your breath before the kick in the teeth you get from my personal favourite from the album, ‘Live For The Fight’, a track that is pure Heavy Metal. The highly respected but often overlooked drummer Martin MacNee comes to the fore on this track, along with the blistering bass lines of Dan Bate; a real class track.

So is it an album of Anthems? Well probably 8 out of 12, but that for me justifies the name. This album is not simply a bunch of tracks influenced by the likes of Priest and Maiden, this album is the natural successor and progeny to the Grandaddies of British Metal. We need bands like Absolva to make sure there is a future for our Metal scene and if they keep banging out albums like this then we can keep raising the horns and banging our heads to our own home-grown talent.

Absolva – Anthems To The Dead9 out of 10

Track listing:

  1. The Devil’s Mouth
  2. Victimiser
  3. Never Back Down
  4. Anthems To The Dead
  5. In Some Wild Universe
  6. The Alter and the Cross
  7. Live For The Fight
  8. Killing Season
  9. Taste The Blood
  10. Soul Remains
  11. Silent Sacrifice