Wednesday, June 8, 2016

REVIEW: ABSU's Kansas City Performance

by Pete Tucker, ABSU Webmaster.

AUTHOR'S NOTE: I apologize that this blog has not been very active lately. I know we are all patiently waiting for the arrival of 'Apsu' which is due later this year. In the meantime, I hope to spice this up with some additional information, reviews and other items of note regarding ABSU. In the meantime, here is a review of the show they performed in my home town on April 16th, 2016.

In February 2016, I received an email from Proscriptor that contained tour dates. I hadn't spoken with him much in the past few months due to other issues ongoing but this was very exciting to see. I wasn't aware they were planning anything since I knew they were working on their next album but perhaps they decided they wanted to get out and the timing was right. The itinerary showed they would be playing many shows with very few days off. It seemed crazy but if anyone could pull this off, I figured they could. The day before our show, they played Denver, Colorado. I was so excited for our show, I had not been paying much attention to the weather. A fast moving low pressure system had developed and dropped south in to Arizona and moved NE quickly, developing a freak winter storm over Denver that evening. After performing the band was almost snowed in as their van skidded off the highway due to heavy snow and later found out they were on a highway that had just closed. Luckily, a tow truck was able to pull them out but not after a very long delay. This delay forced the band to take additional time getting to Kansas City and did not arrive until almost 11:15pm in Kansas City. They asked for my help to unload their equipment and with some help from my friends and family (Kelli, Matt, Mike & Chrissy), they were able to get set up fast to play. It was shortly after midnight they began their set.

I have to tell you folks, this being my third time seeing the band, they are a hyper-precision machine when they perform live. For a band that plays extreme metal, its incredibly difficult to stay on time, especially the style they do. And they missed no marks, especially after what they experienced the night before - I can only imagine they were more than tired. I don't know how Proscriptor does it, but the drumming/vocal combination is something he is so masterful at, it's a thing any one fan of this type of music (or drumming in general) must see live to experience - and he does it better than anyone I have ever seen. Ezezu is one of the fastest yet complex bassists I've ever seen live. He seemed to be playing 17 notes at once at 100 mph somehow, all while wearing gloves - and singing as well! Vis Crom has a solid handle of all the sounds this band creates and he honestly sounds like two guitar players up there. His speed and timing is top notch and I see why they decided to continue with just him as the sole guitarist after Aethyris McKay left. When it was time for Grzesiek to take the stage for the second half of the performance, I assumed that maybe he wouldn't quite catch every single beat, maybe miss a few crashes here and there. I was wrong. This guy studied every note, every bit of timing and every bit of precision with Proscriptor and he has it nailed down. This next part is going to be controversial but I honestly mean it: Proscriptor as a vocalist is unreal. The man has the charisma and stage presence that I haven't seen since Freddie Mercury. I don't say that with any shame or because I know these guys and consider them brothers. He has a gift and you have to see it to understand. I can only describe it as metaphorically and literally, he is spell-casting as he performs and he weaves an unbelievable alchemical concoction in the musical and visual sense.

This is a new era for the band and if they decide to continue as a four piece with Grzesiek on drums and Proscriptor on vocals only, I honestly would not complain at all. This is ABSU at their second peak (the first being 1998-2001 Tara era) and the band has never sounded sharper, clearer and stronger. If this is what the future holds, I can only imagine what kind of beast 'Apsu' will be when it eventually comes out.


  1. I saw the band as they came through Santa Cruz a couple of months ago. As per usual, Absu put on a fantastic show, even though the place they performed in was small and dive-y. Absu never fails to impress me and the uniqueness of their act is an underrated marvel.

    I too was skeptical of the new drummer and with Proscriptor solely doing vocals, but after it happened, it made perfect sense. With Proscriptor as the front-man and spellbinder, it only makes sense that at times he should escape from the concealment of the drums and enchant the audience who is eager to see magick on stage.

    Not to downplay the efforts of Vis Crom and Ezezu, as they are phenomenal, as well. To play that fast for such a long show is very difficult, and as a musician myself, I can attest to that claim. To build that kind of stamina must take an amazing amount of time, work, practice, and effort. I do at times wish that Absu had a second session guitarist, so that some of those rhythm and lead combinations which appear on the albums could be played live. If I was further along in my guitar skills, I'd attempt it myself, but I have a long way to go! And I don't mean this in any way to deter from Vis Crom's amazing skills as a guitarist. Rather, he does a brilliant job of merging the rhythm and lead material as much as possible in order to keep the show very true to the albums-- once again, not an easy feat!

    I too feel that the band is entering its second aeon of greatness. Abzu, especially, is an amazing release, and I am anxiously awaiting the arrival of Apsu, which I intend to purchase in every possible format, bundle, or edition available!

    I owe Absu a lot, and I do have to thank them for everything: Absu has been the soundtrack to many good times, has been the focal point of some of my favorite live shows, has served as a prime inspiration for my own interests in music, the occult, and academic studies, and was even the center of conversation when I first met my current girlfriend of two years. So, in turn, thanks, Absu! I look forward to an enduring future of mythological occult metal!

  2. Well stated! I practically dare anyone to say this band is past their prime. Anyone who would state that is missing out on one of the best and hardest working bands in the business today.

  3. I saw them in Charlotte NC this year and they totally blew away all others on the bill (Tribulation, Skeletonwitch, High On Fire, and even the mighty Abbath himself). Proscriptor was doing vocals only and he was wonderful, ABSUlutley mesmerizing. The band played flawlessly. After their set I was able to get some pictures made with them and my album signed. Whatever the amount, I'll pay it next time they come through.

  4. Hahaha que incrível!
    Sabemos que mais que músicos eles são. Hail! Ótima matéria amigo.