ARCHIVE: Absolva / Anthems To The Dead And Highbury Garage, London

6 May 2014. Absolva – Their second studio album, ‘Anthems To The Dead’, is fast, frenetic, furious and fierce as well as being packed full of seriously excellent songs, tremendously skilled musicianship and threateningly positive attitude.

‘Anthems To The Dead’ is indeed full of anthems and every one of them resonates. Every single track on this magnificent opus is a winner and quite simply, the band have absolutely excelled themselves here.

There’s variety on the album too. You’ll find more than one epic in amongst the numerous skull-cracking, blistering numbers and one slow, mystical track which demonstrates well the versatility that Absolva have.

It’s hard to believe that Absolva only formed two years ago and the impact they have made on the European Metal scene in that time is very impressive. As well as the two studio albums, they’ve also got a live album/DVD out called ‘Beyond Live’.

They’re a three piece from Manchester led by guitarist and lead singer Chris Appleton with bass player Dan Bate sharing the lead vocals on several tracks and all backed by the solid and dependable Martin McNee on drums.

‘Anthems To The Dead’ contains soaring riffs and rousing beats throughout the whole album, all topped off with thought-provoking lyrics.

‘The Devil’s Mouth’ starts proceedings and is one of the album’s standout tracks with it’s rousing melody and clever key changes while ‘Victimiser’ is another key moment. This track spits and snarls with venom and fury (UK).

‘Never Back Down’ is an absolute classic and a song that could go on to define Metal of this generation while the album’s title track is utterly compelling listening.

‘In Some Wild Universe’ is a heartfelt, pain ridden, emotive scream of defiance while ‘The Altar And The Cross’ takes us down a completely different road altogether with it’s mystical imagery.

The bass line on ‘Live For The Fight’ is absolutely pounding and driving and never lets up once while ‘Killing Season’ is a journey of clever interchanges wrapped in a frightening storyline.

‘Taste The Blood’ is a gripping track with a blistering riff and killer chorus while ‘Soul Remains’ is just an excellent track in every way.

The album ends with ‘Silent Sacrifice’, a seven-minute epic ode to the warrior on a quest and it’s the perfect track to end the album and I guarantee the hook-line/chorus will stay in your head long after you’ve finished listening.

I’ll be surprised if I hear a better album than ‘Anthems To The Dead’ in 2014 and we’re not even half-way through the year yet. It’s extremely well produced, brilliantly arranged and is a massive statement from a band who are defining the future of British Metal.

‘Anthems To The Dead’ costs just ten British pounds from the Absolva store. I paid more than that for the new Iron Maiden album in 1999 and I’m still playing it today.

I’m pretty damn sure I will still be playing ‘Anthems To The Dead’ in 15 years time which would make it 75p per each year’s unlimited listening. That is probably the best value you will ever get, anywhere, anytime.

Absolva – Anthems To The Dead

The Devil’s Mouth
Never Back Down
Anthems To The Dead
In Some Wild Universe
The Altar And The Cross
Live For The Fight
Killing Season
Taste The Blood
Soul Remains
Silent Sacrifice


Thursday 1st May 2014

The first night of the tour and what an absolutely blistering gig this was. This was near-perfect Heavy Metal of the 21st Century and the clear message was that our music is alive and screaming and has a massive future.

The volume was a throwback to the old days when you used to leave a gig with your ears ringing. That simply doesn’t happen any more but Absolva took us right back to Metal’s glory days while making it crystal clear that they are the torch carriers for the future and the defining sound of the modern day.

The sound quality was near perfect too and frontman Chris Appleton involved the Garage crowd from the off. Not that they needed much encouragement as this band are good enough to let the music do all the talking but Chris has become the complete and expert frontman who can easily have a large crowd hanging on his every word.

He’s the lead and rythym guitarist as well, plus chief songwriter and band leader and his talent appears to know no boundaries. I wouldn’t be surprised if he drives the tour bus and cooks the breakfast as well.

It’s not all about Chris though as Dan Bate and Martin McNee also shine on stage. Dan is a blistering player, both visually and soundwise. He must be using specially reinforced instruments, the way he hammers his bass.

Drummer Martin McNee not only demonstrated his worth with his dependable and brutal beat-keeping but with his drum solo. Drum solos usually mean it’s time to go to the bar to refuel but he kept this crowd captivated with a skilled and captivating display.

The bottom line is that these guys totally mean it and the way they relay their message is infectious, uplifting and impossible to ignore.

The set-list below should have contained three more tracks but the gig ran slightly late and Absolva had to slightly adapt their set. That means that when you catch them on the rest of the tour, you get more than we got in London.

Surely Absolva will be playing high up the bill at large festivals sooner rather than later. They certainly deserve that.

Cream always rises to the top so you’d be well advised to catch them in the mid-sized venues this tour. Tickets are selling fast and some of these venues have already sold out as word is spreading fast now. Absolva won’t be staying on this level for long, that much is a given.

The Devil’s Mouth
Anthems To The Dead
Killing Season
From Beyond
Never Back Down
Soul Remains
Only When It’s Over
Taste The Blood
Drum Solo
Flames Of Justice
Code Red

Pictures by Sean Cameron

Absolva are:

Chris Appleton: Lead vocals, lead and rythym guitar
Daniel Bate: Bass guitar, lead and backing vocals
Martin McNee: Drumsabsolva absolva absolva absolva absolva absolva absolva absolva absolva absolva absolva absolvaabsolva absolva absolva absolva absolva absolva absolva absolva absolva absolva absolva absolva absolva

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