Abbath debuts new track Fenrir Hunts with Metal Hammer

Not content with taking London – and the internet – by storm recently, former Immortal frontman and all round heavy metal icon Abbath is also laying the ground for his first, as yet untitled album under his own name, due out via Season Of Mist in January 2016.

Metal Hammer has been privy to some early mixes, and from what we’ve heard, prepare to be blasted from here to Blashrykh and beyond – rawer than Immortal’s last album, All Shall Fall, but full of seething, winter sun-reflecting riffs that take off into spectacular, mountain-scaling passages that smash though every possible expectation like a wolf-drawn sleigh through a sheet of ice.

In preparation, we are proud and a wee bit humbled to offer an exclusive preview in the form of Fenrir Hunts, a live-in-the-studio version of a track that will appear in fully mixed form on the forthcoming album. Charging forth on a irrepressible, gristly riff coated in the grease of pure heavy metal, and spiked with lead breaks, it veers off into arrestingly grim moments as that classic Immortal atmosphere of old seeps in to add an epic sheen. This is Abbath reaching deep into the essence of metal lore so strap yourself in, watch the video below and get the bands thoughts on the new album below!

“It’s heavy metal, it’s rock’n’roll,” says Abbath of the new album. “The music is very personal, but I had the most amazing bassplayer [King] and drummer [Creature]. It’s just a privilege playing with these guys. They really understand my music so much better than anyone. It’s is going to sound so much better, because there’s no triggers on this album, and you can hear it. That also bings forth a complete sound, the guitars and bass, you can’t adjust it digitally, it’s more organic.”

“If you want to express something personally,” adds King, “then you need to have a personal sound, and triggers don’t let you do that. So we’ve tried to capture the essence of each musician in the band. You get so tired of all these bands sounding the same – you go in, they doctor things everywhere, and everyone starts sounding the same. I want to back to the feeling of the ‘70s, of bands I grew up with, like Led Zeppelin, John Paul Jones, John Bonham, all these characters whose personalities were huge in the music. I always wanted to be in a band where that could be accomplished, and I think we’ve started something. We have the power to do some very unique things with this.”

For all the stripped down nature of the new songs, the early impressions are that they’re still utterly transformative – you know that moment in All Shall Fall’s title track where everything stops, a riff starts glowing like a light bulb filament being turned up until it’s incandescent and kicks off everything again with your heart jammed even further in your mouth? – the new stuff is full of moments like that.

“It’s a very special feeling,” says Abbath. “That’s what I enjoy the most in this process, when I discover these doors, and I have to work on the key, which is the riff, to open that door, and then there’s a new door and suddenly you enter the mountain, the root of the mountain. We have riffs inspirited by Venom, W.A.S.P., Bathory and more, but we make them into our own. We take them into our territories.”

Abbath plays The Forum in London on January 23, 2016. An album is due in January via Season Of Mist.

We took Abbath for a day trip round London

Jonathan Selzer

Having freelanced regularly for the Melody Maker and Kerrang!, and edited the extreme metal monthly, Terrorizer, for seven years, Jonathan is now the overseer of all the album and live reviews in Metal Hammer. Bemoans his obsolete superpower of being invisible to Routemaster bus conductors, finds men without sideburns slightly circumspect, and thinks songs that aren’t about Satan, swords or witches are a bit silly.