Wednesday, January 2, 2013


Abigor - Leytmotif Luzifer
Avantgarde Music, 2014
Genre: Black Metal

The VII Temptations of Man:
1. Ego
2. Stasis
3. Akrasia
4. Indulgence
5. Neglect
6. Compos Mentis
7. Excessus

I feel like Abigor is a band no one talks about that much anymore. I was extremely surprised when I saw they had released a new album. I was actually in the process of buying another album and saw this as well... naturally I picked it up again, since I've rather enjoyed their modern material regardless of how outlandish it is compared with their early releases. Well "Leytmotif Luzifer" came out this year and if you've liked their more recent releases then you will certainly not be disappointed in this at all.

"Leytmotif Luzifer" continues and, yet, further advances the journey from "Time is the Sulphur", which is rather surprising in many respects. In many respects I think "Leytmotif Luzifer" is the full culmination of their modern works. It is the full advancement of this style blending in the chaotic technical nature of their later era while still blending in a cogent atmosphere throughout the recording. I think Abigor have given a lot of consideration to the chaotic yet atmospheric approach perpetrated by the likes of modern Deathspell Omega material. Naturally, Abigor keep it rooted in their own approach, but "Leytmotif Luzifer" has more than just controlled chaos going on, because there's an underlying presence to the album, which isn't usually there in overly chaotic compositions. The technicality brings to mind some of Emperor's later, more progressive material, and the more twisted sections hint towards the styles of Dødheimsgard. As anyone can tell, there's a lot to digest on this album.

While AR was a decent vocalist for their modern era, we "Leytmotif Luzifer" bears further celebration with the return of Silenius on vocals. While he is not a full member of the band, as has been stated, it is wonderful to hear him behind the microphone again. I really do think that Silenius is the true voice of Abigor, for what it is worth. His voice brings a certain timbre and essence to the compositions that other vocalists just wouldn't be able to achieve in the same manner. So, I am very glad to see his return, even if it is just or the one album. There really aren't any liner notes throughout the album, but the booklet features lyrics. This is, honestly, one of the nicest booklets I've ever seen, in fact, the whole packaging for this release is simply stunning. As I said, with no liner notes, I'm not sure who is responsible for the lyrics, but they are exceptional. Lines like "building cathedrals not of stones, but words and tones" gives an incredible image to the work of this album.

This is certainly the best of the Abigor's more modern works. Hopefully, this release gets people talking about the band a lot more, because they clearly deserve it at this point. Most critics seem to be giving this a favorable review, so I was rather surprised to not see it mentioned anywhere. This may wind up being one of the better kept secrets of 2014, but you should not let that be. If you like the modern Abigor styles, then this is an absolute must have.

Abigor - Supreme and Immortal is the Art of the Devil
Avantgarde Music, 2013
Genre: Black Metal

Disc 1:
1. Supreme and Immortal
2. Soil of Souls

Disc 2:
1. My Soft Vision in Blood
2. Diabolic Unity
3. Universe of Black Divine
4. In Sin
5. Eye to Eye at Armageddon

Abigor are newly signed with Avantgarde Music, which seems appropriate given the past two releases. To celebrate this the band has released this new 7" limited to 500 hand-numbered copies, of which I own #364. Its an interesting release, in the sense that it is really just older Abigor material that never really saw the light of day. I thought this would feature new material from the band, but it
is all old. My version even came with a bonus CD which features even older material.

The two songs on the vinyl are old versions from the "Supreme Immortal Art" recordings. The guitars and drums were sourced from an unmixed Maxell UDII 60 stereo cassette from 1997. Beyond this Silenius has returned to offer up some more current vocals and those were recorded in 2013. TT also recorded some additional guitar parts in the songs as well. Needless to say these sound completely different from the original recordings. I also didn't realize how much I missed Silenius' vocal performances until now. He really gives Abigor a severe edge vocally and I'm hoping this means he's going to be working with the band again in the future. This is a superior effort over the "Quintessence" re-working. I think they really captured and enhanced the original atmosphere, which is something they should have been striving towards with the "Quintessence" release. Luckily, everything worked out quite well on these recordings.

The CD is a recording of the first rehearsal with Silenius on vocals. This is really a re-release of the "In Hate & Sin" demo from 1994, which is never originally released officially anyway. I'm sort of surprised it was never put on the "Quintessence" repress, but I'm really glad to eventually hear this material. For a rehearsal the recording is actually quite well done. Hearing Silenius on these old songs is really wonderful. It feels like its been ages since I've listened to "Verwüstung" and all the songs featured on this rehearsal made it onto that album. Only a lucky few were able to get the CD since it only came with 200 copies of the release. Considering how much I love this early Abigor material, it was well worth getting for me. It's really interesting to see how much of a voice Silenius brought to the band when you compare what was released on the earliest of demos.

In the end this is a really great release and I look forward to what is coming next. If you're a fan of the early days of Abigor this is truly a must have. They really did the early material justice with the new vocals on the old songs.

Abigor - Quintessence
End All Life Productions, 2012
Genre: Black Metal

Disc 1:
1. Channeling the Quintessence of Satan
2. Equilibrium Pass By
3. Demon'sVortex
4. Flesh Magic Rites
5. Dawn of Human Dust
6. Utopia Consumed
7. Pandemonic Revelation
8. Towards Beyond

Disc 2: Lux Devicta Est 1993
1. Filii Septemtrionum / Diabolic Unity
2. Saeculum Obscurum / Kingdom of Darkness
3. Animae Tortae
4. Finis Redemptionis / Crawl Back to Your Cross
5. Obliteration
6. Midwintertears
Promo Tape: 1994
7. Eye to Eye at Armageddon
8. Abyssmal Scorn
9. Other Truth
Moonrise: 1994
10. The Prophecy
11. Universe of Black Divine
12. My Soft Vision in Blood
Ash Nazg... : 1993
13. Dance of the Dead
14. In Sin
15. Shadowlord

When I first saw this release coming I was pretty excited for it. As with the prior releases on End All Life the packaging was absolutely beautiful. It comes in an A5 digibook of sorts. It has a huge booklet with different art and a large amount of old pictures from the demo days. In this regard, it is a very good release, but I'll look at this from disc to disc.

The first part of this release is a reworking of "Channelling the Quintessence of Satan". This seesm to be the in the vogue thing to do with Black Metal bands. The Kovenant went back to re-work their album "In Times Before the Light" and simply ruined the original in 2002. Then Dimmu Borgir decided to ruin one of their best album "Stormblåst". Now it seems Abigor have decided to try their hand at doing this whole re-working process. While "Quintessence" is nearly as bad as the aforementioned re-workings, its still not that good compared to the original. Abigor are working with the originally recorded files from 1999, but they've stripped it down to just the original guitar and drums. This is fine, but then they've re-worked all the lyrics for the most part and have a totally different vocalist. While AR's vocals may work well with the newer Abigor style, they don't really fit with this early form of Abigor. Aside from the vocals being way too loud in the mix, they just don't have a quality that fits with this material. I think TT tried valiantly to make everything work, because there is added guitar flair throughout giving the album that more chaotic edge of modern Abigor, but it doesn't work, because it really has no place with the early forms of the band. The real problem is that the atmosphere from the original has entirely been killed off. While, they have, at least, not turned this into a goofy dance remix of the album making this one of the better re-workings, it just adds nothing to the original experience. In fact, it ends up taking away. Even with the lyrics being written more clearly and incredible art, this couldn't really make this an excellent release. If you want to hear someone that is doing an excellent job re-working old material you should look at the Polish releases of Graveland's material. Rob Darken is doing an incredible job revisiting the material he made. He's really focusing on keeping that original atmosphere in focus and simply enhancing that experience. That, to me, is how these kinds of releases should exist, they shouldn't exist as a forum to bring the old into the "modernized" sound as many bands are doing.

The second disc, however, is where this release really becomes worth getting for me. Here we finally have a nearly complete release of Abigor's demo tapes. The only thing missing is "In Hate & Sin", and the only reason that is missing is probably because it wouldn't fit on the CD. For here we have over an hour of old Abigor demo's to enjoy. This certainly outdoes the "Origo Regium" release where only pieces of this experience were featured and I'm surprised they didn't just release this then. Using 80 minute CD's may not have been as viable back then, if I remember correctly. So, if you missed out on those precious originals and are really in love with the "Verwüstung" sound then this make "Quintessence" an absolute must buy. It really brings me back to the early days and I love listening to this old material. It makes me sad I missed out on the original demos, but I think I was a little late finding Abigor and by then all the tapes were surely gone. This is a great way to revisit some old Black Metal history and I'm very glad they included the recordings on this release.

In the end the re-working of "Quintessence" may not be the real selling point for this release, but the demo re-release makes this truly worth getting. This way, long time collectors, can finally fill out the Abigor recordings nearly completely. While the "Quintessence" recording is okay, its just not something I will pull out when I can listen to the original version.

Abigor - Time is the Sulphur in the Veins of the Saint
End All Life Productions, 2010
Genre: Experimental Black Metal

1. Part I
2. Part II

After "Fractal Possession" I never even realized Abigor had a new album out until probably a year later when my friend had purchased a copy and mentioned it. Even then, it wasn't until years later when I finally purchased this thing. If you enjoyed "Fractal Possession" its reasonable to assume you'll probably enjoy this new release as well. Despite being only two tracks this is a new full-length and is nearly forty minutes in length. The packaging is pretty interesting. A few years ago bands seemed to release a lot of special box albums published by Nuclear Blast, like Satyricon's "Diadems" and Hypocrisy's "10 Years of Chaos and Confusion", well Abigor are taking that idea and trying it for themselves. I'm sure other bands have done this before even the ones referenced above, but I just remember a sudden appearance of this packaging all over the place. Inside the box you'll find a big booklet and a CD. There's nothing else in there, but the booklet is sort of interesting. You do have to hold it in the right light if you are going to look at some of the pictures, because it is a black paper with gray-ish print. Until you get to the lyrics which are in white print, so you can read them clearly thankfully.

"Time is the Sulphur" feels like a less chaotic journey than "Fractal Possession" and in that regard I feel like it has a much more tangible atmosphere. Even amidst their new avant-garde direction there is still a dark and looming atmosphere throughout the release, which is really what makes for a great Black Metal experience. I still say that if they had more focus on certain riffs and developed the themes they would have quite an impressive atmospheric journey on their hands. However, Abigor favor trying to blend complex textures together and for the most part they do really succeed. Even though this has as much variation as "Fractal Possession" the whole of the work feels a lot more cohesive for some reason, which means they're trending in a good direction where they're really figuring out how to make this chaotic approach work. I usually find it hard to get into this style of music, but Abigor have managed to make it accessible, whereas projects like Ephel Duath just sound like pure randomness to me half the time and its not something I can listen to.

While I may not pull this album out over and over to experience, when I do get around to it the journey will be a great listen overall. If you had said that Abigor would reform with the "Satanized" style in mind, I would have been pretty skeptical about ever enjoying it... but here we are with me giving their latest material a good review.

Abigor - Fractal Possession
End All Life Productions, 2007
Genre: Experimental Black Metal

1. Warning
2. Project-Shadow
3. Cold Void Choir
4. Lair of Infinite Desperation
5. 3D Blasphemy
6. The Fire Syndrome
7. Injection Satan
8. Liberty Rises a Diagonal Flame
9. Vapourized Tears
10. Heaven Unveiled

I suppose they were a bit hasty in announcing the end of the project. Six years after "Satanized" Abigor have found inspiration in Black Metal to return with one of the more forward thinking albums of the genre. I think "Fractal Possession" is what they "thought" they were recording when they put out "Satanized", but "Fractal Possession" really fixes all the problems found on that release. Perhaps they simply didn't want to end the discography on such a low note, whatever the reason "Fractal Possession" is actually quite a strong return for Abigor as far as I'm concerned.

Long time Abigor fans may be disappointed in this release, especially if you are really insistent on their traditionalist sound of the '90's. "Fractal Possession" really is a different style altogether and it is certainly a very technical album for Abigor. While this increase in technicality ran "Satanized" into a heartless endeavor, "Fractal Possession" manages to keep things a bit more under control. There is a far more distinct theme in the overall progression of the songs and while the writing feels as random as before they've managed to make this work for some reason. The six years away from the project have definitely been what the band needed. There are sections that run a more industrial feel and conjure the dark energy found on Mysticum's debut album, but cast in the disturbing structures of Dødheimsgard. Some of the song titles are still kind of silly sounding like "3D Blasphemy" and "Injection Satan", at least the music is much better. Another thing I appreciated was the use of clean vocals is nearly nonexistent this time around. Its nice to see they finally realized they either can't sing or the cleans don't really fit in their sound. Either way, it's back to primarily harsh vocals for Abigor, which make this album work so much better. The booklet and packaging design are also far superior this time around. It looks like they hired someone that knew what they were doing when they put this layout together. I got the pretty nice digi-book styled release and it really is well put together.

Ultimately, if you're hoping Abigor's return brings up their old days, you will be heavily disappointed in it. Abigor's entirely avant-garde approach to Black Metal may be too daunting for some. If you're not into that direction of Black Metal, then you should probably skip this and continue to revel in Abigor's glory days. However, if you're looking for  a well done Black Metal album in that modern avant-garde style, I think "Fractal Possession" is a great addition to that realm. It's actually not a realm I'm very into, but for whatever reason I could get into "Fractal Possession" so much more than a lot of the bands that perform this style.

Abigor - Shockwave 666
Dark Horizon Records, 2004
Genre: Black Metal

1. Dawn of Human Dust (2002 Version)
2. Repulsor (Pulsar 2003)

Well this is it for us long time Abigor fans. “Shockwave 666” heralds the end of a very long legacy. I would say that I’m sorry to see them go, but after the performance we got on “Satanized” I think I agree that it was probably time for Abigor to hang it up. Peter even had a special message for the fans when you open up the 7 inch’s booklet:

“A last hail to all our die-hard fans that supported Abigor since 1993, and all the bands and individuals I am in frequent contact with, you know who you are – the flames still burning, but the circles is closed…” – Peter

As I said it’s sad to see such an influential and long time band go, but they’re not exactly leaving us on a high note. Unfortunately “Shockwave 666” is designed for the die hard fans, but it doesn’t give us anything overly new. It features a re-recorded version of “Dawn of Human Dust” originally found on “Channeling the Quintessence of Satan”, and this new recording isn't hugely different. The only major difference is the fact that it’s a minute shorter because there’s no intro. The up side for “Dawn of Human Dust” is that we can now hear the bass drums very clearly and in that aspect it’s much better than the original. For the second offering we have a redone version of “Repulsor” originally found on the “Satanized” album. Frankly, nothing is going to save this song. The original version of “Repulsor” is so much better. This version has even more technology behind it and the vocals are performed through some kind of synthesizer and the song just sounds terrible under these conditions.

I commend them for thinking of the die hard fans, but I wish they had given us a little more. Like re-recording a couple old demo songs would have been a nicer addition to anyone’s collection and an interesting way to end a legacy, sort of along the idea of what Maniac Butcher did. However, I can see the rationale at leaving off with newer material since I’m sure Peter didn’t feel the demo work was as relevant today. Either way, the die hard fans are going to get this whether it’s good or not, that’s just a fact of the situation. The occasional listener should probably not bother with this and would find a lot more merit in owning the entire full length of “Channeling the Quintessence of Satan” rather than just have a re-done track, though they probably should’ve redone the whole album under these production conditions. Alas, I can say I only enjoyed half of this album.

Abigor - Satanized
Napalm Records, 2001
Genre: Black Metal

1. The Legacy
2. Repulsor
3. Battlestar Abigor
4. Galaxies and Eons Decline
5. Luminescence of Darkness
6. Nocturnal Stardust
7. Satan's Galaxy
8. The Redeemer's Return

I remember waiting eagerly for the new Abigor to be released, because they had always produced fairly high quality material over the years. Even if parts were mediocre, it was still markedly higher quality than most other releases out there. Here come to "Satanized" and this is probably the most hated of Abigor albums. I never really enjoyed this album too much, and it wasn't too much of a surprised when it later announced that Abigor were calling it quits after this release. With "Satanized" it really did seem the Abigor sound had run its course, in a manner of speaking.

"Satanized" attempts to extend the bands reach and have more a "cosmic" feel, but with songs like "Battlestar Abigor" it comes off as campy. The interior art of the booklet reminds me a lot of Limbonic Art's artwork, so perhaps they were listening to and looking at their material a lot for inspiration. The new trend of including clean vocal sections seems to be in-line with that theory. Now, musically Abigor sound nothing like Limbonic Art. Abigor still primarily sound like their old style, but I feel like the arrangements are so much more chaotic and, for whatever reason, a lot of the songs really lack any kind of atmosphere. "Repulsor" has exquisite moments, but then when we get to the palm muted riff, it just sounds bland. Couple that with the sections of vocal processing and it just sounds ridiculous. They used that high-pitched vocal effect and maybe they thought this would sound "spacey", but it just sounds idiotic. I feel like, musically, they were trying to use a lot of those sort of dissonant Thorns styled chords that give a really disturbing and tense atmosphere.. while sometimes this really worked, most of the time things just felt jumbled. Amidst these riffs, I feel they attempted to make catchier sections, but they are so brief they feel entirely out of place. The end result is an album that feels somewhat heartless without any real direction musically. While they were, perhaps, heavily influenced by Dødheimsgard's "666 International", it didn't work out in Abigor's case.

In the end this truly is the worst of Abigor. The randomness has overwhelmed their writing sensibilities and the listener has nothing to really get into in the end. In some respects, I think the idea behind this album was quite over ambitious. If they had stayed focused on the disturbing Thorns styled chord structuring playing sections that were slow and fast, but keeping that same chord style, this would have been a pretty incredible release. Instead we have scant seconds to listen to even those good parts, before something else comes along and often it is not very good. If you've been a long time fan of Abigor, I think many will agree that this is the part of their catalog you can skip without missing much.

Abigor - In Memory
Napalm Records, 2000
Genre: Black Metal

1. Terrible Certainty (Kreator Cover)
2. Crionics (Slayer Cover)
3. Shadowlord
4. Crimson Horizons
5. Verwüstung

Here we have a sort of compilation... in the form of an EP. The liner notes from the booklet state that this is a tribute as well as a collection of rare Abigor tracks. I guess there was some demand for the cover songs featured on this release and the EP begins with those before delving into Abigor's back catalog for some unreleased recordings.

They do a pretty good job on the covers. The Kreator song is recast in a more Black Metal fashion, but the Slayer one attempts to stay true to its original form. They even attempted to reproduce Araya's clean styled voice. I thought it was only okay, I do wish they had recast it more in the Abigor fashion and that would have sounded a lot better to me. After this "Shadowlord" shows up and this song originally appeared on the "Ash Nazgh..." demo from 1993, but this is a proper studio recording of the song from 1995. It originally appeared a compilation Napalm Records was building back then. This was really great to hear. I rarely ever buy those compilation things unless they have truly unique material on them and even then I really don't pay much attention to what is out there. So, I'm glad to see this see the light of day on an actual Abigor release. Needless to say, this was Abigor during my favorite era of the band and really enjoyed hearing this track. Unfortunately, the other two unreleased tracks aren't nearly as prolific. "Crimson Horizons" is a 4-track rehearsal recording from 1995 for a song that would appear on "Opus IV". Likewise,  "Verwüstung" is a rough-mixed instrumental version of the song appearing on the "Apokalypse" EP.

I'm sorry to say that this EP doesn't really offer very much. I quite enjoyed hearing "Shadowlord", but the rest of the tracks just weren't worth it to me. Some people may find the covers cool, but the rehearsal tracks aren't anything all that special, really. I do understand wanting to release more material than the two covers and that's usually a good move, but this isn't an EP I'll really ever be listening to on any kind of regular basis. At least in the end of the liner notes it states a forth coming full-length will be appearing next year, hopefully, that will have more interesting material.

Abigor - Channeling the Quintessence of Satan
Napalm Records, 1999
Genre: Black Metal

1. Dawn of Human Dust
2. Pandemonic Revelation
3. Equilibrium Pass By
4. Wildfire and Desire
5. Utopia Consumed
6. Demon's Vortex
7. Towards Beyond
8. Pandora's Miasmic Breath

"Channeling the Quintessence of Satan" seems to be the next stop in Abigor's career that a lot of their die-hard fans seem to reference. While it may not be up there with their early material, it is still a really impressive album overall. After "Supreme Immortal Art", I wasn't sure where Abigor would go, but it seems they've returned to their style of guitar focused music with minimal keyboard use. The production is a lot stronger on this too, the drum production completely blows the prior album's drum production away. The booklet design is also far superior and we can actually read what's written in the booklet this time!

It's kind of shocking to see people claim "Supreme Immortal Art" is complex, and then see many herald "Channeling the Quintessence of Satan" as an incredible album. This album is far more complicated musically and it's a lot more frantic and chaotic in its style. Abigor still maintain that strange interplay between intensity and melody, but this is easily one of the faster Abigor albums out there. Instead of the keyboard atmosphere, I feel like they've fallen to more strange Ambient elements at times to create a more "haunting" atmosphere, if you will. This doesn't always work, but I do prefer this over the standard string setting on a keyboard. With all that, I think I did enjoy this more than "Supreme Immortal Art", but I think I still like the earlier material even more. Still, "Channeling the Quintessence of Satan" is a great album in the grand scheme of things. It has everything Abigor fans tend to want out of the band and this one is performed at a much faster pace than prior efforts.

I would say that if you found "Supreme Immortal Art" not to your liking, then give this album a try, especially if you liked the earliest Abigor material. Abigor continues to be the high quality performing project we've come to expect over the years and this album is really no exception so far.

Abigor - Origo Regium 1993 - 1994
Napalm Records, 1998
Genre: Black Metal

1. Filli Septemtrionum (Intro)
2. Kingomd of Darkness
3. Eye to Eye at Armageddon
4. Animae Tortae
5. My Soft Vision in Blood
6. Abysmal Scorn
7. Shadowlord
8. Midwintertears / Obliteration (Outro)

If you're as interested in music history as I am then this is a must buy release for Abigor fans. Sadly I missed out on this in the '90's and wound up getting it at a time when I probably paid above and beyond. Back in the '90's this stuff was pretty readily available, so it was always something "I would buy later" or "soon", but that never happened and before I knew it things started getting impossible to find almost overnight. Either way, I finally own a copy of this to call part of my collection. "Origo Regium" is a compilation of some Abigor songs from the demo days. They released a lot of demos in the early '90's and, sadly, not everything appears here, but we have a good collection to get a decent sense of the band at this early time.

One of the aspects of this release that is pretty interesting is that the booklet states "the content of this CD offers original demo-sound, no polished, well-produced studio recordings." So, I don't think they've remastered anything or touched anything up to make it sound better. What you hear on here is, essentially, what you'd expect to hear on the demo tapes. That being said, the quality isn't too bad considering much of these are probably old four track recordings.  They're not too far off from what you'd expect from Darkthrone's quality, which really brings me back a long way. Musically a lot of the material reminds me of what Emperor. It's almost like they fell in love with "Wrath of the Tyrant", which came out the year before the band formed and said "we can do this!" They eventually started composing in their own way, but that feels like a major influence in these early days for Abigor.

I really loved the chance to revisit the early years and I'm glad this release was made in honor of that. The only thing I would ever complain about is that there isn't a single full demo on this release, instead it feels more like a "best of" from their demo days. Maybe someday we'll get to hear the full demo set released, but for now we'll have to make due with this. Definitely worth getting for the Abigor collector out there.

Abigor - Supreme Immortal Art
Napalm Records, 1998
Genre: Black Metal

1. Satan in Me
2. Supreme Immortal Art
3. Soil of Souls
4. Eclipse My Heart, Crown Me King
5. The Spirit of Venus
6. Blood & Soil
7. Magic Glass Monument
8. Exhausted Remnants

After the wonderful "Apokalypse" release, I'm not sure I was exactly expecting "Supreme Immortal Art" as the forthcoming release. I remember looking forward to albums from Abigor during this time, but they were nothing I truly fiended for given what came before this. I also think I was paying attention to other things at the time. Either way, I have rarely spun "Supreme Immortal Art" since buying it in 1998 and to some degree I do regret not listening to Abigor more regularly in general. The one bad thing with this release is the booklet. The font choice and color are nearly impossible to read throughout the booklet.

In some ways "Supreme Immortal Art" may have gotten a little drowned out during this time frame, since the surface levels of Black Metal seemed to be going after the more symphonic and majestic touch. It seems delving into the deep underground is where you'd find the more intense material, but a lot of material being released in the late 90's sort of sounded similar to this.

"Supreme Immortal Art" is sort of a more complex and advanced "Nachthymnen". I feel that Abigor have really trended to listening to a lot of Emperor during this time frame and "Supreme Immortal Art" is, sort of, their taken on "Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk", which was released in the prior year. Given Abigor's ability to produce an abundance of music, I don't feel this is too far off the mark. I also hear some Dimmu Borgir elements in some of the compositions, considering at this time Dimmu Borgir were producing relatively strong Symphonic Black Metal. So, as you can tell "Supreme Immortal Art" has a much heavier dose of the keyboard elements than ever before. I think they've taken a step back to the more vicious compositions and focusing more on a lighter and a more melodic approach. I've seen people decry the album as more complex, but I've never found it to be that way. The arrangements aren't any more over the top than before, the only difference is really the fact that it has a lot more prominent keyboard work throughout the album. At times they have touches of far more complexity, but not so much that the album is mired in heartless guitar wankery. I think "Supreme Immortal Art" is very well composed and it is certainly a stand out album for this era in 1998. Upon revisiting it, I think this album is pretty well done, its not the greatest thing I've ever heard, but I would certainly choose this over many releases during that time frame these days.

If you enjoyed Emperor's "Anthems to the Welkin at Dusk" you may find Abigor's take on that style just as good. It's done completely in Abigor's style, which is quite different from Emperor's, so it's not like we've heard this all before. There's a quality of raw and harshness ever present in Abigor's sound that really sets them aside from other Black Metal bands and in that regard this style gets re-interpreted into something fairly different.

Abigor - Apokalypse
Napalm Records, 1997
Genre: Black Metal

1. Celestial
2. Verwüstung
3. Ein Hauch Von Kälte
4. Hyperwelt
5. Tu Es Diaboli Juna
6. Ubique Daemon

It feels like Abigor changed gears for this release a bit. The harsh recording style is still very present, but the songs feel so much more intense than on prior albums. Sure some songs have a lot more melody than others, but as soon as “Celestial” starts the listener is assaulted with a harsh and fast onslaught. I wouldn’t say this is a huge shift for Abigor by any means, so if you enjoyed prior Abigor releases, this is definitely a worth hearing.

For some reason “Apokalypse” reminds me a lot more of Emperor’s “In the Nightside Eclipse” without Keyboards, and maybe a little faster. Not that this is a bad comparison, but it is a bit of a shift from Abigor’s usual very melodic song structuring. One of the things that stuck out to me more on this album was the vocals. They feel a lot more varied than on prior releases. I was surprised to hear a lot more straight yelling vocal stylings. Normally I wouldn’t think this works very well, but Abigor mixed it in perfectly to give the songs this different degree of passion that I don’t feel stood out in their prior works.

In the end, this review is clearly going to be short. I honestly don’t have much to say on the album, other than that I enjoyed it quite a bit, but Abigor haven’t drastically shifted by any means. Though, at this point, I do wonder if they’re going to stick with higher intensity level or revert back into the more melodic compositions of the prior albums. Either way, this was a pretty excellent listen, so enjoy!

Abigor - Opus IV
Napalm Records, 1996
Genre: Black Metal

1. Crimson Horizons and Ashen Skies
2. Eerie Constellation
3. Mirages for the Eyes of the Blind
4. A Breath from Worlds Beyond
5. The Elder God (My Dragon Magic)
6. Dimension of  Thy Unforgiven Sins (Part 1)
7. Dimension of Thy Unforgiven Sins (Part 2)
8. Spektrale Schattenlichter

After an astounding performance on their album “Nachthymnen” I figured that would be impossible to top, so I was ready to go either way with “Opus IV.” “Opus IV” is quite an excellent album, but it doesn’t beat out “Nachthymnen,” from my perspective at least. I guess, unfortunately, for Abigor the album that gets looked at the most is “Nachthymnen” so a lot of the rest of their discography gets overlooked, rather unfairly.

“Opus IV” is a two part concept series (maybe?) broken up into two chapters, the first “Horns Lurk Beyond the Stars,” and the second “Blut aus Aeonen.” The first part is very cosmic oriented lyrically and the second part seems to be the more typical medieval styled lyrics. The latter chapter amuses me somewhat lyrically because it’s somewhat in line with “Orkblut – The Retaliation” in terms of concept and it reminds me of some kind of demonic Dungeons & Dragons scenario. It leaves me wondering how many of these bands are into that kind of stuff since it seems to be a rather prevalent concept. Anyway, I must confess to being a nerd/geek/whatever the pop culture would deem uncool, so from my perspective I rather like them. Though at this point I must wonder what the point of the cover is for this album… a spiked chair? Not to mention the packaging in this respect is just odd because that image is separate from the actual booklet. It seems in terms of a booklet each chapter has its own album cover, as you can see above, so maybe the single insert page of the spiked chair is supposed to bring the whole thing together… somehow…

I think musically this picks up where “Verwüstung/Invoking the Dark Age” left off rather than where “Nachthymnen” left off. There was a certain majesty that was underlying “Nachthymnen” that “Verwüstung” and “Opus IV” don’t really have. In some respects “Opus IV” is much more aggressive, especially the first part “Horns Lurk Beyond the Stars.” They still included that clean guitar aspect underlying the aggressive Black Metal parts that I pointed out in my “Verwüstung” review. When we get to the chapter “Blut aus Aeonen” it seems like a continuation of “Orkblut – The Retaliation.” The first track “The Elder God (My Dragon Magic)” is rife with acoustic parts between the Black Metal sections, much in the way “Orkblut” was designed. This also includes having that somewhat abrupt and fragmented feel of “Orkblut.” While these acoustic parts have a very beautiful feel to them, they feel abrupt, which is really my one and only complaint, this was also my one complaint about “Orkblut.” I think if they harnessed the power of a smooth transition it would give their compositions a much more powerful and majestic feel. Keyboards are done on both chapters, but again they are only placed in for accents at certain points so it doesn’t overwhelm the composition with them, thus they are clearly not Symphonic Black Metal.

In the end this is another collection of excellent songs, it doesn’t outdo “Nachthymnen” but it is still a superb follow-up. It would appear they have found their writing niche and are sticking to it. There is a little more development on this album in the second half in the songwriting, so it’s a slight progression from “Verwüstung” in that regard, because some parts sound a bit strange, like one of the guitar lines in “Dimensions of Thy Unforgiven Sins (Part 2).” You’ll know it when you hear it, trust me. Anyway, in the end, if you enjoyed “Verwüstung” you really can’t go wrong with this!

Abigor - Nachthymnen (From the Twilight Kingdom)
Napalm Records, 1995
Genre: Black Metal

1. Unleashed Axe-Age
2. Scars in the Landscape of God
3. Reborn through the Gates of Three Moons
4. Dornen
5. As Astral Images Darken Reality
6. The Dark Kiss
7. I Face the Eternal Winter
8. Revealed Secrets of the Whispering Moon
9. A Frozen Soul in a Wintershadow

Shortly after the appearance of "Orkblut" Abigor have returned with their second full-length. This is quite impressive given the short time span and the band seems to be overflowing with incredible material. "Nacthymnen" is often heralded as Abigor's magnum opus, and for good reason. It is the album they released that will forever be referenced for all future releases. This is really where they founded their most influential sound.

"Unleashed Axe-Age" opens with an Ambience style that we would later see being used by the likes of Darkspace, but with a very different metal application. With "Nachthymnen" I think Abigor sort of blend the sound of "Verwüstung" and "Orkblut" together, but in a far more well thought out approach. "Verwüstung's" compositions seem simplistic compared to what "Nacthymnen" brings to our ears. The compositions feel so much more vibrant and intense, making for a really incredible experience. They use keyboards sparingly throughout the album to give us that extra touch of atmosphere during certain sections. It's the kind of thing Emperor really thinks out in their music. The album is mostly their unique brand of vicious Black Metal with a good amount of melody, but in the middle they slow the album down with "Dornen", which mostly has female vocals. I'm sure the super elitists were frustrated by this, and perhaps it is not the greatest song, but the rest of the tracks are definitely worth spending time with. The interplay between intensity and melody is wonderful, and they really round out parts with wonderful acoustic passages. Where they were mostly separate on "Orkblut" here they are blended into the Black Metal very well and it gives "Nachthymnen" a rather majestic and epic feel at times.

Abigor is clearly hitting their writing in stride on this album and it easily launches this album into one of the must hear Black Metal albums of all time list. It really holds up over the decades, which is something to be very proud of as a band. There's really nothing else out there at the time that sounded like this and "Nachthymnen" would solidify Abigor as one of the giants in the scene influencing the next generations for years to come.

Abigor - Orkblut - The Retaliation
Napalm Records, 1995
Genre: Black Metal

1. The Prophecy
2. Bloodsoaked Overture
3. Remembering Pagan Origins
4. The Rising of Our Tribe
5. Medieval Echoes
6. Emptiness-Menschenfeind-Untamed Devastation
7. the Final Strike
8. Battlefield Orphans
9. The Soft and Last Sleep
10. Severance
11. Langsam Verhallte des Lebens Schmerz

I was a little late being told about Abigor and I think I picked up "Orkblut" and "Nachthymnen" around the same time. "Nachthymnen" somewhat overshadowed "Orkblut", but I did eventually return to this and get really into it. This is also one of the strangest "EP" or "mini-album" releases I have seen. It's eleven tracks and nearly twenty-five minutes long. I think a huge portion of the way the tracks are cut on here is unnecessary.

First off, if you really enjoyed "Verwüstung", you're going to want to get "Orkblut" as well. This merely advances the sound they first presented to Black Metal scene. The Black Metal is largely more intense, but they still maintain that interplay between acoustic passages and their melodic style. The reason I say the way these tracks are cut is unnecessary is if you look at the first three tracks, you could easily have a single song there. The opening starts with a beautiful acoustic passage, then the second track is an instrumental metal song with a lot of melodic passages similar to what we heard on the debut. Then the third track is a thirty second keyboard passage reminiscent of something Mortiis would release, so all three actually work well together as a first song. The first full on Black Metal song is "Remembering Pagan Origins" and its rather surprisingly how vicious this song is. If you really liked this song then you'll probably also enjoy the band Black Dawn who's album "Blood for Satan" sounds a lot like this song. The rest of the material isn't this intense and it mostly continues where "Verwüstung" left off for us. The whole album really takes that interplay between acoustic/keyboard passages and actual metal songs. The actually songs are some of the best for Abigor though, just listen to the guitar lines in "Severance", absolutely spectacular! The one complaint I could make about this is that they rely on that huge tom hit on the drums a bit too often.

It's a somewhat short journey, but it is a good one. "Orkblut" will eventually be marked under the realms of classic Abigor, and rightfully so. I consider the release essential listening for the Abigor discography. There really wasn't anything else like this around at the time, so Abigor has always shared a special spot in my mind.

Abigor - Verwüstung / Invoke The Dark Age
Napalm Records, 1994
Genre: Black Metal

1. Universe of Black Divine
2. Kingdom of Darkness
3. Beneath a Steel Sky
4. Eye to Eye at Armageddon
5. In Sin
6. My Soft Vision in Blood
7. Weeping Midwintertears
8. Diabolic Unity
9. A Spell of Dark and Evil

So, I took my time to review this apparently. Yes, it’s currently 2007 as I write this. If you haven’t heard of Abigor by now and claim to be a “Black Metal fan,” then something has gone quite wrong. This is Abigor’s debut release and it’s since gone into the realms of legend.

Abigor always had a vastly different feel, musically, than all the other Black Metal bands out there when this came out. While I don’t think they were doing anything drastically different in terms of the structuring of the traditional Black Metal sections, I think they captured a bit of a different aura to their sound than their Norwegian and Swedish compatriots during this early time-frame. Abigor also got people to turn an eye to Austria as well, since they were doing something a little different.

Abigor fuse a distinctly more folk feel into their Black Metal, primarily by using acoustic guitars. Not many others threw this in except for Satyricon on “Dark Medieval Times.” Though, Abigor is certainly much more aggressive. Despite the fusion of these acoustic guitars the majority of Abigor’s music has a very dark and aggressive feel to it. There are even parts where they have a tinge of keyboards in the back for a slightly added atmosphere. They also have keyboard instrumentals, which are a bit reminiscent of Dimmu Borgir. Overall their Black Metal probably derives from Darkthrone influence, but in terms of melodic aspects and aggression has more of a Gorgoroth influence. Though, on some levels I think Abigor uses a bit more melody than Gorgoroth. However, it’s probably rather silly to compare them all as Abigor put this album out about the same time as a lot of the other more well known albums. One thing that stands out on “Verwüstung” is the drum work; they seriously have a superb drummer behind the kit. Vocally, I think this guy stands up best against Marduk’s Andreas Axelsson, as that’s the only one I can think of from this period that even remotely comes to mind.

“Verwüstung” is an album I got back when I was fourteen in High School (I’m twenty-five now) and over the years you’ll hear a lot of bands derive their sound from Abigor and a lot of these other early greats. However, one thing I will say is that I haven’t really heard many that really stack up against Abigor over the years in their portrayal of the style. I think a lot of bands have successfully mimicked Gorgoroth, Darkthrone, or Marduk, but I think Abigor remains slightly untouched. Not to say that the aforementioned groups aren’t impressive, just that Abigor had a slightly different arrangement of their work. I can hear Abigor influence in future groups, but I can’t pick up an album and say “this sounds just like Abigor.” I think many bands were influenced by the likes of Abigor over the years, such as Nocternity, but they’ve always had their own atmosphere and twist to make it something special rather than an Abigor rip-off.

Obviously this is one of the more legendary bands from the early era of Black Metal, back before downloading made things overly available and saturated the genre. Either way this release has always been heralded as a masterpiece. Needless to say I would highly recommend this. I may not get the urge to pull this album out as much as I used to, but then again I rather over listened to the early Black Metal albums when I was in High School because there really weren't many I could easily get my hands on, at least not till my Junior year when things became much more well known. Either way, this is definitely a must hear!

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