Anchored by the shape-shifting drums of lead singer and croaker Proscriptor, Absu, from Texas, has been at the fore of American black metal since the early '90s, when that field was mostly a barren plain and not an overpopulated borough. They've taken breaks, shifted members and even migrated among mythologies during their long run, but the thread that runs through Absu's oeuvre of pummel is, strangely, fun. No, this isn't sunshiny metal; it's dark, complicated, knotty stuff, with rhythms that slip around riffs as tight as pulled electrical wire. Absu plays it with endless oomph and energy, digging through rituals and symbols of ancient cultures with the eye of a scholar but the excitement of a neophyte. Their latest, 2011's Abzu, is neither their best nor their densest, but it races from start to finish, a reminder of how old bands returning to a place of relative, genre-specific popularity should behave. Sorry, Pixies. A reunited Faith in Ashes and Lesser Life open.
—Grayson Haver Currin