ABSU "Lordz ov the Great Abyzz"

By Dr. Abner Mality

"When above the heavens did not yet exist nor the earth below, Apsu the freshwater ocean was there, the first, the begetter, and Tiamat, the saltwater sea, she who bore them all; they were still mixing their waters, and no pasture land had yet been formed, nor even a reed marsh..."--taken from the Enuma Elish, Babylonian Creation Myth

In the myths of the ancient Babylonians, Absu was the living, primal ocean from which all else arose. Absu (also known as Abzu and Apsu) is the deepest source of wisdom, life and energy. A most fitting name, then, for the long-lived Texas band Absu, the masters of mythological occult metal. Led by drummer/vocalist/shaman Proscriptor McGovern, Absu the band has been instructing mortals in the ways of both heavy metal and esoteric magick for many years now and with their newest treatise "Abzu", have reached the apex of their art.

Therefore, it was time for me to remove my shoes and put on the initiate's robes to enter the temple of Absu and learn the mysteries directly from the mouth of Proscriptor himself. This man is DEEPLY immersed in what lies beyond normal sight and for him, death/black metal is just the most appropriate means of transmitting his knowledge. In the following discourse, you will learn not only more about Absu the band and "Abzu" the album, but the cosmic forces from whence they came.

Bow your head and pay strict attention as we dive into the Waters of Ea...

WORMWOOD CHRONICLES: Hail, Proscriptor! Your new assault "Abzu" is the most energized Absu hits like a thunderbolt! Was it the intention from conception to make it so fast and in your face or did this only reveal itself as time passed?

PROSCRIPTOR McGOVERN: I believe both were stalwart, yet contributing factors to the new album. With both Ezezu and Vis Crom added as the newest members in the line-up, their intentions were to create an ABSU album like none other.  My objective, on the other hand, is to never recreate the same style of ABSU album within the band’s discography.  

WC:  I understand this is the mid-point of a trilogy. Were the musical and lyrical themes all conceived in one great rush or is it still in the process of evolving?

PM: The record company, Candlelight, decided to classify the last two albums inside of a trilogy, as it was never my intention to call this series a trilogy. I decided, many years ago, these three albums would primarily be based on anything and everything that is related to what ABSU is all about. I refused to name these three with unique titles, yet I simply wanted them named ABSU (Absu/Abzu/Apsu) differentiated by their sleeve designs, yet off by one letter. Yes, both the musical and lyrical themes were generally conceived in one season, more or less.
WC:  Despite the extremity of "Abzu", I sense more influence from old school thrash and even classic metal and progressive rock. What acts of old specifically inspired you on this record?

PM: I would have to say anything from Styx and Soft Machine to Kreator and King Crimson. I am solely speaking for myself and not the other two members.

WC:  When the trilogy is complete, what then becomes of Absu? Will there be anywhere to go from there or is this designed to be a colossal swansong?

PM: After the release of "Apsu", I may or may not terminate the band’s existence. I do, however, have many plans for the creation of a new, yet retrospective, euphony. If I were to convey these sounds under the ABSU banner, it could be devastating to not only the band’s temperament, but fan base as well. We shall see in due time. 

WC:  You mentioned "Abzu" is not to be seen as "a natural progression but a feat of metaphysical conquest and murkiness". What is it that you are conquering here? Ignorance?

PM: Basically, it’s a crusading proclamation declaring that "Abzu" was going to be a more raw, baneful album than its predecessor.

WC: You've dabbled in many mythologies and systems of thought over the years. This time you are exploring Enochian magick. What is it about this system of thought that attracts you and how would you briefly describe it to a layman?

PM: This is not an exclusive form of magic(k) focused on the album, but definitely one of them. Enochian Magic(k) is associated with the Golden Dawn current, which helps me draw upon knowledge, experiences, practices and spirits in the system of magic(k)al training. My attraction to this system is advantageous because it is the telepathic gateway to the spirits I communicate with; i.e. Thoth, Ea, Cernunnos, Ereshkigal and so forth. Drawing upon magic(k) has definitely made myself obtain initiation into the greater mysteries of not only planet Earth, but also the universe. I believe initiation is a sacred process in which both transmission of a higher octave and empowerment of the soul can occur in a step-by-step process. The Golden Dawn’s outer system, as well as Enochian Magic(k), is just as important as the advanced initiations of their Orders; i.e. evolve and gain self-mastery from the empowering initiations of Earth-Air-Water-Fire-Spirit. This is an extremely serious matter and if beckoned correctly, safely, physically and effectively, one will receive a complete integrated body of knowledge: knowledge I try to incorporate with the music and poetry of ABSU.

WC: The artwork of Absu has always been a very strong component of your mystique. "Abzu" features the work of a new artist and seems to portray gateways and temples. What's the idea behind this image?

PM: The CD cover is basically a continuation from the last, self-titled album. The Abzu is  Enki's shrine and the temple in  Eridu; a mythical place where life-influencing powers reside and the results are incomprehensible, unfathomable and secretive; a place producing raw materials. The Elder Sigil produces such ambiguities placed in the center of the main pillar. The vinyl cover contains an interpretation of the Emerald Tablet of Hermes because it stimulates right brain responses and arouses intuition, imagination and insight. At this point, my verbal explanation is inadequate, but it gives me starting points to somewhat explain the Enochian cuneiform implication of ‘V.I.T.R.I.O.L.’ sealed within the rim. There are seven Latin words in the statement. In alchemy, the Below, there are seven metals. In astrology, the Above, there are seven planets. In each of us, there are seven chakras. Taken together, they point to seven levels of action internalized by a concocted philosophy classified as the “Anzu Ceremony.” In Sumerian mythology, the Anzu Bird is a divine storm-bird and the personification of the southern wind/thunder clouds. This demon, thirty-three percent man/thirty-three percent eagle/thirty-three percent lion, stole the "Tablets of Destiny" from Enlil and hid them on an apex. In conclusion, this is why the tornado appears to lift the seal of vitriolistic nous.

WC:  Are all three components of the trilogy meant to be listened to in close sequence? Can each component be appreciated by itself or is "the big picture" absolutely necessary?

PM: I have to say the latter because each one should be appreciated by itself and there is not a “trilogy,” nor a “big picture.”

WC:  I'm fascinated by the song title "Ontologically, It Became Time and Space". Unfortunately I didn't get lyrics with my promo. What is "it"? Is the song about thought and the mind?

PM: This song is an argument concerning the relationship between metaphysical nihilism and the ‘physical’ origin of one abstract occult concept. In other words, how did time and space inaugurate? Ontology. It is the philosophical study of the nature of beingexistence or reality as such, as well as the basic categories of being and their relations. Traditionally listed as a part of the major branch of philosophy known as metaphysics, ontology deals with questions concerning what entities (or planets) exist or can be said to exist, and how such entities can be grouped, related within a hierarchy, and subdivided according to similarities and differences.

WC: The line-up of Absu has always been fluid. Tell us what Vis Crom and Ezezu bring to your vision. Were they part of the creative process here?

PM: Ezezu joined the ranks on September 26 2008, as Vis Crom joined approximately one year later replacing ex-guitarist Zawicizuz. Ezezu was suggested by the aforementioned member because after the last album was recorded, we were seeking a permanent bassist/co-vocalist for not only touring purposes, but for future releases. After the release of ABSU’s third offering, "The Third Storm of Cythrául", I handled all vocal obligations up to the last album, as ex-member Shaftiel decided to cease singing. (Excluding his particular parts in a live sense) With that being said, I felt it was a wise decision to include a co-vocalist to share the parts with myself. During our last North American tour in 2009, we journeyed with Rumpelstiltskin Grinder and that’s how we met Vis Crom. After investigating his superlative guitar skills on tour, we knew if we ever needed a replacement, he was going to be the perfect candidate. As far as their input on the new album, they composed all of the material, excluding my arrangements for the last song, "A Song For Ea". Throughout the history of ABSU, there have been numerous line-up alterations, but I don’t believe that has been an indication that I am enigmatical to work with; the musicianship and divination/magic(k)al pathways are somewhat difficult to obey if one is not properly trained or skilled. This is my statement of belief – my creed – my doctrine.

WC:  Did you imagine when you released your debut in 1993 that you would still be in Absu in 2011?

PM: Yes and no, as it’s incomprehensible to make such a prediction. When the band went on official hiatus in early 2003, I was then uncertain about ABSU’s continuation. Now, I feel we are stronger than ever and I’m rather optimistic about the campaign for this album, as well as the next.

WC:  The epic on "Abzu" is "A Song For Ea". Ea (Enki) is the Lord of the Earth, creation and waters. Did you feel guidance and inspiration from this spirit when writing the song?

PM: Lyrically, A Song For Ea pertains to the following: Ea (Enki) is the god of fresh water, wisdom and incantations and lived in the Abzu. (Apsu) He is the assistant of mankind who sent the Seven Sages to teach the arts and skills of civilization to men. This story concentrates on two Tablets in the ancient legend of Sumerian/Mesopotamian mythology. The first, called the Third Tablet, represents Ea’s celestial journey and extraction of gold from the waters of the Abzu. However, his excursion was unexpectedly interrupted by the second - Sixteenth Tablet. Ea encounters the seven evil spirits (portals) of King Anu, as well as Imhullu. (An atrocious current of air, tempest and the wind of four and seven - the worst of all) When this song was initially composed and arranged, I built the architecture to be in six movements and guided Vis Crom and Ezezu to compose around the blueprints.

WC: You guys toured with the mighty Immortal earlier. How was the tour? I always felt Immortal and Absu were kind of kindred spirits?

PM: L’excellence!

WC:  I believe the concluding part of the trilogy will be called "Apsu". Is the form of this effort already complete and what can we expect from it?

PM: It shall be prepared sometime in the alter portion of 2012 if everything goes as planned.

WC:  What touring plans do you have for "Abzu"?

PM: Tentatively speaking, we will be supporting the latest album in the following territories:

Australia/New Zealand:
January 2012

April 2012

North America
June 2012

South America/Asia
Late 2012

WC:  If you could have dinner with any three people from history, who would they be?

PM: Kenneth Grant, William Bruford and yourself. (I am humbled and overwhelmed!--Mality)

WC:  Absu has been such a huge part of your life not just musically but spiritually, have you given thought to life after it and how that will change you?

PM: Yes.

WC: What was the last CD/album you picked up just because you wanted to check it out?

PM: Vektor - Outer Isolation

WC:  What was the last act you saw in concert just because you wanted to see them?

PM: I will honestly have to say Gospel Of The Horns because I “wanted” to see them. They were incredible live!

WC:  In the long history of Absu, is there any kind of "Spinal Tap" moment where things went haywire that you could share with us?

PM: On tour with Enslaved in 1997, I physically fell off of a small mountain and went tumbling into eternity. Luckily, I was not too severely injured.

WC: Any final words of wisdom for the faithful?

PM: Thank you for the interview and never blow out the Eastern candle.