Absolva – Side By Side
Release Date: 17/04/2020
Running Time: 58:17
Review by Tsarina Wilson
We welcome back Absolva with their fifth album “Side By Side” and it’s good to hear they have come back in such style. These guys are at the top of their game when it comes to keeping us entertained with their songs! Yes, we can compare some of their music to great bands such as Maiden & Saxon etc but they stand proud on their own merit. With ten new tracks and two covers they give us nearly an hour of pure Heavy Metal! Absolva are led by the strong vocals of Christopher Appleton, who also plays lead guitar and produced the album, along with Luke Appleton (Iced Earth) on rhythm guitar and backing vocals, Martin Mcnee on drums and Karl Schramm on bass and backing vocals. The drumming was recorded in Belgium in November 2018 and other parts of the album were recorded at Rocksector HQ in Manchester during 2019/2020. Mastering was done by Ade Emsley (Iron Maiden, Voodoo Six and Tank amongst others) The front cover art work was the work of Akriant Illustrations (Iron Maiden, Star Wars, Blaze Bayley) and I’m telling you this because Absolva always deliver a great package.
“Side By Side” is very much an album of anthems, ‘The Skies Your Limit’ is one such track with some absolutely crazy riffing and manic drumming, Absolva certainly keep you on your toes. On the title track you can imagine a large crowd singing the chorus at the tops of their voices, fists held high. Just when you think it’s going to be a slower song…boom you get hit by the guitar solo and drumming and then it’s back to the slower vocals and the combination is brilliant. Christopher’s voice is so powerful yet you hear every single word he sings and with the, also powerful, backing vocals coming in at just the right times everything feels spot on!
My favourite track is definitely ‘Legion’! I’ve sat with my head phones on listening to this song over and over and the epic guitar riffs are so air guitar worthy, you end up banging your head along while yelling Legion every time they do (sorry neighbours, oops) but I don’t think the guys would be too worried if they knew, I get the feeling they love what they do and like to whoop up the crowds at their gigs. Other tracks like ‘Eternal Soul’ prove that although they get compared to other great band’s they have their own identity and following. It’s great to hear such a talented bunch, musically and vocally, all combined together delivering quality song after quality song!
The bonus tracks of ‘2 Minutes To Midnight’ (Iron Maiden) and ‘Heaven And Hell’ (Black Sabbath) are both brilliantly covered but never take away from Absolva’s own raw talent, they really stand on their own two feet! Yes we know all bands are influenced by others they have listened to and admired from their past but the fresh material from Absolva, and the very obvious talent they have, puts them on a pedestal!
Absolva are going from strength to strength with each album, this is their fifth since they got together in 2012 (plus a live album/DVD), are certainly showing others how it should be done and that a smaller UK band can easily compete with larger, more established acts. They work tirelessly but absolutely love what they do and it shines through on “Side By Side”. This is an album I shall have on repeat for a long time. Well done lads!
01. Advocate Your Fate
02. Burning Star
03. The Sky’s Your Limit
04. Side By Side
05. Living A Lie
07. Eternal Soul
08. End Of Days
09. Heart Lets Go
10. From This World
11. 2 Minutes to Midnight (Iron Maiden Cover)
12. Heaven And Hell (Black Sabbath Cover)
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