DFW Music News

Black Metal Band Absu Is Now Apsu; Guitarist Says She Was Kicked Out for Being Trans

Absu is now Apsu, and former guitarist Melissa Moore says there's much more to the story.
Absu is now Apsu, and former guitarist Melissa Moore says there's much more to the story. Vassil/Wikimedia Commons
For more than three decades, Dallas group Absu has carved a space in the industry as a quintessential black metal band, but this reign came to an abrupt end in January when the band announced its dissolution on Facebook.

"After meager deliberation and zero remorse, I have decided to dissolve Absu after three decades of existence,” said the post, which has since been removed. “Collectively and universally speaking, this decision is finite due to insoluble circumstances, which has led to this ultimate result. No amount of time, exertion, formula or fashion can alter my verdict."

Absu vocalist and drummer Proscriptor McGovern, real name Russ R. Givens, announced last week that a new project titled Proscriptor McGovern’s Apsu would carry the band’s legacy with a new album due for release via Agonia Records later this year.

Said Givens of this new development: “I want people to know that I disbanded Absu to form Proscriptor McGovern’s Apsu with underpinning intention, despite the inclusion of my name, as an armorial bearing to pay tribute to the former sanctuary. I do not consider myself the band’s leader, but more of an administrator. I may be an oppressive commissioner, but Proscriptor McGovern’s Apsu is an equal, collective unit.”

"I may be an oppressive commissioner, but Proscriptor McGovern’s Apsu is an equal, collective unit.” – Proscriptor McGovern

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Former Absu guitarist Melissa Moore, a transgender woman, made a series of Facebook posts in response to this news. In the first, she accused Givens and Absu bassist Ezezu of kicking her out of the band because of her gender identity.

“If they just recorded a full new 12-song album, that's none of my business, but it'd be incredibly disappointing to learn that after kicking me out they still used my playing and songs,” she said on Friday. “During our final tour in 2017, I told my bandmates that I'm trans. This was the moment everything changed between us. I didn't ask them to call me a different name or use different pronouns. I just let them know I was trans, and that's it. They started treating me like a pariah. Like, they didn't even want to share a hotel room with me.”

Moore alleges that Givens texted her, “You fired yourself … with your decision [to transition],” to which she recounted, as she wrote: “Then I said ‘what the fuck are you talking about? My decision to not suffer in a fucking personal prison? You think I should go back into my cell and hide myself?'”

On Monday, Moore posted a follow-up Facebook post, claiming that Agonia Records assured her that none of her music is being used for Givens’ upcoming project. She said, “This is a relief as I have plans for those songs,” presumably in reference to her current band, Philadelphia-based Sonja.

Givens, Agonia Records and the rest of Proscriptor McGovern’s Apsu’s affiliates have not made any public comment regarding Moore’s statements. Watch the trailer for the upcoming release below:
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Garrett Gravley was born and grew up in Dallas. He mostly writes about music, but veers into arts and culture, local news and politics. He is a graduate of the University of North Texas and has written for the Dallas Observer since October 2018.