CD Reviews

Absolva - 'Flames Of Justice' Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     February 07, 2013    
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One of the best debut albums of 2012.

When under rated classic metal trio Fury UK lost their bassist Luke Appelton to US power metal veterans Iced Earth, it would have been easy for the remaining duo of guitarist and singer Chris Appelton (Luke’s brother) and drummer Martin McNee to fade off into the over populated UK metal has-been distance. However this pair is made of sterner stuff than that, something handsomely proved time and again on the debut album ‘Flames Of Justice’ from their newly formed outfit Absolva. Bolstering their numbers with bassist Dan Bate (Point Blank Fury) and guitarist Tom Atkinson (Vice), Absolva pay homage to the music that once made this land great, with a twin-axe attack that Iron Maiden or Judas Priest would be proud to call their own - and I don’t say that lightly.

Already Absolva have been hammering UK crowds into submission, first through a support slot with the aforementioned Iced Earth, but also at this year’s Bloodstock Open Air. When you get a load of the rip-snorting, riff-totting power rush of ‘Free’, ‘Flames Of Justice’, or ‘Empires’ you’ll begin to understand why. Appleton has a crisp, insistent voice that thunders with authority, while possessing a huge amount of melody. So much so, I’d even suggest that his vocals alone will bring people to rally behind the Absolva cause who would usually shy away from music as overtly energetic as this. Impressively however, it isn’t those mighty tonsils that really stand out on an album that side-steps all of the usual debut album pitfalls. Instead it is the tightness shown by this four-piece that allows Appleton and Atkinson to riff with a real potency and toss out top notch solos at a stunning rate, that marks this release out as one of the best debut albums of 2012.

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Proving that they are a band who know that pacing is also important, ‘State Of Grace’ is a short acoustic guitar instrumental that, arriving as it does at the mid-point of ‘Flames Of Justice’, calms the senses just long enough for ‘From Beyond The Light’ to rampage out of the speakers like a horde of barbarians hungry for their next kill. McNee is a powerhouse behind the kit, something he illustrates time and again with killer tom bursts and kick-drum cacophonies punctuating the always convincing guitar duels, adding explosions of colour to an already dazzling display. Add to that a precise, concise bass bashing from Bate and nowhere at all across the eleven tracks does one single chink in the Absolva armour appear. They really are that good.

If you’ve been desperately waiting decades for a UK band to finally pick up the gauntlet and challenge the might of the old guard of the metal scene, get ready to hail Absolva and light the ‘Flames Of Justice’!

Steven Reid

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