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Absolva - Side by Side

Side by Side
by Emily Schneider at 10 March 2020, 4:23 AM

ABSOLVA hails from the UK and has been rocking all over the world since 2012. This group of rockers (including Luke Appleton from ICED EARTH) bring their a-game whether it's on stage or in the studio with classic chuggy style riffs, powerful vocals, and some massive solo sections. Their fifth studio album, “Side By Side”, officially arrives on April 17th, 2020. These guys have a nostalgia factor about them, yet keeps a fresher modern feel with their style of Melodic Heavy Metal (although I'd add that they bring a feeling of NWOBHM back around as well)

“Advocate Your Fate” is an interesting opening track with IRON MAIDEN style riffs and powerful vocals. “The Sky's Your Limit” started out ballad paced. The lyrics were a bit cheesy, but the riffs were cool and the harmonizing guitars are excellent. I loved the last couple of minutes of this, the song really took off and well, sent the listener beyond the sky with some killer guitars and powerful vocals. “Side By Side” started out slow then took off midway through with yet another stellar guitar solo set.  “Living a Lie” immediately had me banging my head with that cool riff and drum combination that starts the song and continues throughout. The solo section is a massive dramatic kind of solo, I loved it.

“Legion” most definitely has the NWOBHM feel from the starting note throughout. The riff style in this one plus the vocal melody is reminiscent of SAXON blended with DIO. “End of Days” is a HEAVY track. The riffs were bad ass and powerful, Christopher's voice is massive in this track too. “From This World” is the final track (at least of the original songs) on the album. It starts out kind of cheesy, but with some neat melodic little riffs weaved in. It builds to a fantastic riffing and solos section midway through. The melodies in this closing track are strangely beautiful and easily get stuck in your head after the song ends. “Two Minutes to Midnight” is a cover of the IRON MAIDEN classic. It's a solid cover and the solo section steals the show. (not surprisingly with how often I felt the Maiden influence throughout this album)

Overall, this album was super enjoyable! As a big IRON MAIDEN fan, I was excited to see the ABSOLVA list them as a major influence. The influence showed, in a positive way, throughout this entire record. They did have their own twist in the mix with catchy melodies and excellent vocals. I can say the guitars were the greatest part of this album for me though. I'm a sucker for dueling/harmonized guitars and the Appleton brothers are insanely talented at it. “Side By Side” was also something I often want from music: Fun. I can tell these guys are passionate for the music they're creating and having a blast doing so. It adds to the enjoyment factor of an album for me and they certainly hit the mark and surpassed it by a mile.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

1. Advocate Your Fate
2. Burning Star
3. The Sky’s Your Limit
4. Side by Side
5. Living a Lie
6. Legion
7. Eternal Soul
8. End of Days
9. Heart Let’s Go
10. From This World
Christopher Appleton - Guitar & Lead Vocals
Luke Appleton - Guitar & Backing Vocals
Martin Mcnee - Drums
Karl Schramm - Bass & Backing Vocals
Record Label: Rocksektor Records


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