Review by Stefan: Absolva is a four piece formation out of the UK that was founded in 2012 by former Fury UK members including the brothers Christopher (lead guitar & lead vocals) and Luke Appleton (rhythm/lead guitar & backing vocals), who since 2012 is also a fixed value in the famous Iced Earth ! Absolva debuted with the full-featured album “Flames of Justice”, released in 2012. This first effort turned out to be an instant hit, it became a very interesting product for every follower of pure heavy metal music.
What no one actually expected, instead of a successor, a live album/DVD was released with the title “Beyond Live” (2013), fourteen songs loaded and released through award-winning independent records label Rocksector Records. As years passed by, Absolva brought out three more albums which I personally have nothing but good memories of, all because they radiated so much energy and passion in regards to top-notch heavy metal. Since the NWOBHM era, England has produced countless good releases, according to my expert assessment Absolva is high on the list of all-time UK heavy metal favorites. Also live these guys have a lot in store, after every performance of them, you go home with a good feeling.
The time has come to put Absolva’s fifth album “Side By Side” in the spotlight, I’d like to introduce you to the latest masterpiece or UK’s finest heavy metal act. Ten brand new compositions and two bonus tracks, actually covers entitled ‘2 Minutes to Midnight’ (Iron Maiden) and ‘Heaven And Hell’ (Black Sabbath). During a running time of exactly 58:17 you’ll be spoiled, ALOT !
Mixed and produced in a magisterial way by Christopher himself, I immediately want to express myself very excited about the quality of the CD, this is heavy metal for maniacs pure ! From the opener ‘Advocate Your Fate’ Absolva is immediately in the right tone, anthemic heavy metal rules with an iron hand and the high level that is achieved here is maintained throughout the whole nine yards. When I judge each member individually, I come to the conclusion that there are no musical shortcomings, I want to underline once more that “Side By Side” completely blows me over, really ! One metal anthem follows the other and this happens without annoying moments. The songs are not complicated but very effective, pure, loud and melodic. The vocals of Christopher are top notch in my opinion, very clear and quite unique.
Tracks where the band shines on all fronts include ‘The Skies Your Limit’ and ‘Legion’, and this is just a small selection from the wide range of good song writing stuff. Ironbound riffs, stellar leads and the pounding drums are able to knock you outta control. Excellent bass works, check – superb vocals, check ! ‘Eternal Soul’ brings on a good oiled Iron Maiden vibe – ‘Burning Star’ strikes me in a way Judas Priest did it a long time ago, fast paced in the vein of ‘Freewheel Burning’/’Ram It Down’ for instance. Last new track ‘From This World’ knows how to please me in a rather unexpected, yet original way. This song starts subdued with acoustic guitar sound and soothing vocals, after almost two minutes there is more vitality in the song as well as the guitars start to roar. A little ‘Fear Of The Dark’ influences and some ‘Watching Over Me’ vibes make this composition a pleasant ending.
Fans of classic metal like Iron Maiden, Saxon, Dokken, Judas Priest; and some early Iced Earth/MSG are kindly requested to purchase this beautiful album immediately. Is this new Absolva album the best they’ve ever released ? According to my musical knowledge, these guys has never made a bad album before, again they manage to please with very strong compositions that only highlight their natural born talent. “Side By Side” is an absolute must if you ask me, those into classic heavy metal don’t have to think twice, just place your order at: https://absolva.bigcartel.com/ Additional Absolva info: http://www.mwaweb.com/absolva_home.htm / http://www.facebook.com/Absolva
My rating: 90/100 (Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan)