Absu is dead, long live Proscriptor McGovern’s Apsû! Here, we review Proscriptor McGovern’s Apsû by Proscriptor McGovern’s Apsû.
Back in 2020, Texan black metal band Absu officially disbanded after over thirty years of existence. Whether that had to do with Proscriptor McGovern firing guitarist Vis Crom/Melissa Moore after she came out as transgender (“there is no place for a woman in Absu.”) is anyone’s guess, but here we are. Absu is dead and Proscriptor McGovern’s back with Apsû, making the exact same music he did before and with bassist Ezezû (formerly Ezezu) also still on board and one Vaggreaz on the guitars as the new kid on the block. It’s all the bit weird to say the least, but since we’re a music blog after all, we’re going to focus on the music here.
The music on Proscriptor McGovern’s Absû’s self-titled debut album is just that: weird. Luckily, weird is par for the course when it comes to Proscriptor’s musical endeavors. Just look at a title like Every Watchtower Within Is The Axis Of A Watchtower Without including Totemic Thresholds and you know the guy is up to exactly the same genius madness as he was with Absu. It’s the same incomprehensibly odd, mystical and occult gibberish we’ve come to expect, crammed into forty-four minutes of intense black metal. So intense, actually, that the first time I listened to the entire album front to back left me utterly exhausted. There is so much going on here it’s hard to find any semblance of structure at first. It sounds like utter sonic chaos. You have to sift through the erratic drumming, the illogical breaks and about a thousand riffs per minute only to find an indecipherable mess that somehow sounds good but doesn’t stick at all.
It’s only after a couple of tries that the chaos starts to unravel and you sort of get to see what’s going on here. Between the seemingly dissonant sonical onslaught, you will start to discern individual elements and you might even start recognising separate songs, if only by their order on the record at first. “Ah, that’s song number seven,” you’ll nod appreciatively because you can’t for the life of you remember that it’s called Dedicated To Thoth, But Azathoth Wasn’t Listening (A Necroloquy). You’ll start recognising Mirroracles because of the great riff at the end or the twin guitar part at the beginning. The Coagulating Respite will start to stand out because of its sheer speed and those weird electronic noises in the middle. Twelve individual tracks will start eventually to form in this overwhelming, cacophonous whirlwind.
For those familiar with good old Absu, nothing much has changed except for the new and slightly arduous moniker under which the new album has been released. The material sounds a bit rougher around the edges than McGovern’s last few albums he recorded under the Absu flag, but all the elements are still here and the music is as erratic and brilliant as it’s ever been. In that respect, Apsû is a more than worthy successor to 2009’s Absu and 2011’s Abzu. After all, what’s in a name anyway?
Label: Agonia Records, 2021
- Amenta: Accelerando: Azyn including Hierophantasmal Expounder
- Esoterically Excoriating The Exoteric
- Quasaric Pestilence
- In-Betweeness Gateway Commuters
- Jupiter In Capricornus
- Dedicated To Thoth, But Azathoth Wasn’t Listening (A Necroloquy)
- Caliginous Whorl
- The Coagulating Respite
- Prana: Therion: Akasha
- Tantrums Of Azag-Kkû
- Every Watchtower Within Is The Axis Of A Watchtower Without including Totemic Thresholds
- Proscriptor McGovern – Drums/Percussion, Lyricism, Maestro Echoplex, Papago Flute, (Analogue & Digital) Synthesizers & Voices (1st Person Protagonist)
- Vaggreaz – Electric Lead, Rhythm & Acoustic Guitar (2nd Person Inquisitor)
- Ezezû – Electric Bass Guitar, Implements & Voices (3rd Person Omniscient)
Review by Ralph Plug