Its little to say that Abigor today enjoys a cult following among the fans of black metal, starting at the dawn of the second wave of black metal in Austria of all places and taking it by storm with its complex riffs, heavy use of multiple layered guitar parts, frantic changes in tempo similar only to Emperor and few other bands.
But, the main difference between Abigor and Emperor?
Abigor did not stop doing music and kept pushing the limits of its genre.
You can pretty much say that is hard to find a band similar to these Austrian cats, releasing their first album Verwüstung / Invoke the Dark Age in 1994 which is considered THE year in black metal in which they had already showed the complex writing and were pushing the boundaries ever since.
With the neoclassical influence in Nachthymnen (From the Twilight Kingdom) and an absolute black metal frenzy with Opus IV which were released year by year. Of course, which such ambitions the band eventually went a bit sideways with Fractal Possession from 2007 in its industrial and almost math metal sound.
But that minor experimentation further evolved their sound which proved with the re-recording of Channeling the Quintessence of Satan with the shorter title Quintessence and their modern magnum opus Leytmotif Luzifer (The 7 Temptations of Man) released in 2014. Cutting their rough edges and combining their old and new with Leytmotif Luzifer they had really reached their peak and in a way full circle with Silenius returning to the deadly duo P.K. and T.T. in creating its majestic blitzkrieg of blasphemy.
So, what happens when you reach its peak? You go down.
And Abigor returned to its roots, literally.
Enter Höllenzwang – Chronicles of Perdition, their most minimalistic work.
Recorded with only one guitar track and drums which were blast beat free. For ones who are familiar with their play style this is pretty much unheard of.
Here’s the issue, comparing to their other work Höllenzwang has a much unfinished vibe. Similar to their demos where songs are later developed in their debut Verwüstung. The album can be clearly seen more as a statement against the trend and modern production, sticking to their guns and ways since day one.
Production is very striped and bare bone, almost like you are with Peter Kubik and Thomas Tannenberger in their rehearsal’s room while they compose/improvise these songs in the moment of inspiration.
These guys are still masters of their instruments and that is still clearly heard even under their self-inflicted descriptions. But during their 37 minutes of listening I’m saying to myself ˙˙I know that these guys can do better.˙˙
Silenius still shines as the vocalist and I’m confused why he is still a session member of the band. He is the only guy with two track vocals adding some necessary layers and haunting vocals harmonies like in Sword of Silence and Hymn To The Flaming Void.
It’s quite hard to review this album, as it is in way a tribute to the old sound and philosophy of black metal. It’s that ˙˙take or leave it˙˙ attitude. It’s not the right album to introduce to newcomers to Abigor but to the listeners who understand the masterminds will find merit in their new work, especially of their very earliest material.
Standout blasphemies: Sword of Silence, Hymn To The Flaming Void, Christ’s Descent Into Hell.