Whether or not you are a fan of music streaming platforms, it is hard to deny the opportunities it offers for young, small bands to exhibit their wares to a wide audience. Norway’s Abakas are one of those bands.
Part of a string of short releases, “Royal Tide” boasts only two tracks, and while both are over 7 minutes long, it comes across as more of a sampler of the band’s work rather than an EP.
As the opening riff for “The Boats of the Glen Carrig” kicks off, your attention is immediately drawn to the fuzzy guitar. While the riff is catchy, a bit of an old 70s Sabbath influence seeping through, the tone could be better. It really is a shame. The playing is great and well crafted, but your mind tends to be hooked on these lower quality moments. On the positive, the track, at a touch over 7 minutes long, does not drag and this is a credit to the band’s song writing.
The middle section utilises light and shade very well as the band brings down the volume in a flurry of post-guitar solo atmospheric pedal effects. The vocals across the entire song are a standout – wide in range and versatile.
“Dirt” the second and longer track on the release reaches further into that old school Sabbath pocket. Again, however, the rhythm guitar tone seems to drag this song down. There is a little more of a stoner feel to this track, especially in the middle section which breaks away from the fuzz laden primary riff. This could almost certainly be a separate song in itself and it is the highlight of the short listen. Piercing screams end “Royal Tide” again exhibiting the tremendous range of the vocals.
After a series of short releases from the Norwegian three-piece, a full length album would be great to see in the near future. A small increase in budget or experienced personnel on future recordings would make a world of difference in sound quality, listen-ability and flow. The band already have the playing and writing very well taken care of.