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Verwüstung/Invoke The Dark Age

Abigor - Verwüstung/Invoke The Dark Age ©1994 Napalm Records
1. Universe Of Black Divine
2. Kingdom Of Darkness
3. Beneath A Steel Sky
4. Eve To Eve At Armageddon
5. In Sin
6. My Soft Vision In Blood
7. Weeping Midwinter Tears
8. Diabolic Unity
9. Spell Of Dark And Evil

Though fully entrenched in what I perceive as the most parodic trappings of black metal (ie - goofy corpsepaint and liner note photos), Abigor demonstrated on Verwüstung/Invoke the Dark Age exactly what a good solid black metal is all about. From start to finish, the overall atmosphere and feel of the album is there: dark, contemplative, angry and terrifying. Abigor's ability to smartly write sharp lead guitar lines as well as vary up tempos and musical attacks are among the reasons this is a good album. Some might gripe about the production being a tiny bit tinny, but that's hardly a viable issue. The album has a feeling of progression throughout, as if the music is taking you somewhere. If you are new to the Abigor world, this is possibly the best album to start with your explorations. While it may not be as definitive as other albums of the genre, it is Abigor's strongest that I've heard.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 03/1999

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Orkblut - The Retaliation

Abigor - Orkblut - The Retaliation ©1995 Napalm Records
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. ...To The Final Strike
8. Battlefield Orphans
9. The Soft And Last Sleep
10. Severance
11. Langsam Verhallte Des Lebens Schmerz

Abigor is considered by some to be a supreme black metal outfit but I've never quite have been able to fully find a piece of defining work that would cause me to don the Abigor baseball cap outfit. Orkblut - The Retaliation is a short piece of work that comes across as one song over the eleven tracks on the CD and ends in less than half an hour. All the Abi-elements are here: thin, reedy guitars, echoing vocals, keyboard and acoustic guitar interludes, and an all around general hiss in the background, suggesting they might not have found the best studio in Austria to record Orkblut. But what can ya do? The biggest issue I have with Abigor is not that the production is bad, but that their music isn't quite compelling enough to demand many listens. I don't go through my work day thinking ahead to the second I can race home to put Abigor on the stereo. Rather, Abigor comes across as something where I can't think of anything else to listen to, so I shrug and put it on. Now that I've typed that sentence, I sense Abigor fanatics worldwide bristling in my general direction. Rest assured I respect the musicianship in Abigor and it's very apparent this will appeal to the black metal fanatic. I'm just going to dig up my Summoning CDs, if that's all right with you.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 11/1999

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Nachthymnen (From The Twilight Kingdom)

Abigor - Nachthymnen (From The Twilight Kingdom) ©1995 Napalm Records
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

Abigor is a love-it or hate-it proposition when it comes to black metal. Their style is easily identifiable as uniquely their own and is a very complex brew of hyperspeed trebly guitar lines, echoing and blasting percussion and rasped vocals phoned in directly from the pits of hell. And frankly, it's something you either will fully enjoy or constantly stand on the outside looking in, trying to decipher precisely what it is those in the know have discovered in Abigor's music. Unfortunately, I have always stood on the outside when it comes to Abigor. The high pitched, thin edged quality to their music has the effect of alienating me while listening to the disc, although I can recognize the excellence of their talents. I can respect what the band is attempting throughout. Their sound can be described as echoing and expansive, with a barrage of searing electric and acoustic guitar interludes with very occasional keyboard backdrops. The vocals are raspy and a bit strangled, with that same echoing effect that prevails throughout the record. You can sense a bit of a majestic feel to the music as well.

Nachthymnen is certainly one of the strongest Abigor releases but as with pretty much everything of theirs I've heard, I can't quite allow myself to fully get into it. This album is of highest recommendation for Abigor fans but those who haven't experienced them yet may want to investigate via some samples before actually purchasing their music.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 02/2001

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Opus IV

Abigor - Opus IV ©1996 Napalm Records
1. Crimson Horizons And Ashen Skies
2. Eerie Constellation
3. Mirages For The Eyes Of The Blind
4. A Breath From World's Beyond
5. The Elder God (My Dragon Magic)
6. Dimensions Of Thy Unforgiven Sins/Part I
7. Dimensions Of They Unforgiven Sins/Part II
8. Spektrale Schattenlichte

Essentially a pairing of a couple EPs, this badly produced piece of work demonstrates the two traits of Abigor. 1) They like to occasionally include some beautiful and compelling elements into the cacophony, such as the outro to "Spektrale Schattenlichter" or the subtle guitar lines in "Mirages for the Eyes of the Blind. 2) While going about their evil business of warp speed hyperblast black metal, they forget to add a certain "something" that would take this from being run-of-the-mill to extraordinary. Aside from the thin production that basically robs a lot of their strength, Abigor falls prey to the inherent genericness that marks much of the genre. Much of what you hear on this CD isn't too wildly different from any other group of corpsepainted kids with blasphemous lyrics to match. While it may not be truly bad in any sense of the word, it is certainly nothing that sparks my interest enough to play it more than rarely.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 11/1998

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Apokalypse EP

Abigor - Apokalypse ©1997 Napalm Records
1. Celestial
2. Verwüstung
3. Ein Hauch Von Kälte
4. Hyperwelt
5. Tu Es Diaboli Juna
6. Ubique Daemon

I've always wanted to like Abigor, at least in principle. This Austrian act has made a name for themselves and were creating the most extreme forms of black metal fairly early in the development of that scene. Unfortunately, I've yet to find an album that has created a favorable impression with me. Apokalypse, a short EP released in 1997, only furthers my belief that Abigor just isn't very good.

If metal-archives.com's listing is accurate, Apokalypse was recorded and mixed in a few hours over a two day session. Granted, this alone is not a cause for alarm. One of my favorite bands ever, the Minutemen, were famous for ripping off decent sounding records inside of thirty-six hour timespans. But Apokalypse sounds like a demo at best and that's being generous. To be more more blunt, it sounds like a slovenly, lazy effort disguised by claiming it's "raw black metal". That's a cop out. Although quite a few bands have embraced the high, trebly frequencies as part of their approach, Abigor has long been the template. Unfortunately, for this EP, the template is grating and worn out. It also does not help that beyond the awful excuse for a recording, the songs are also quite weak. It seems as though they wrote the six as quickly as possible without bothering the craft them or display any finesse whatsoever.

Abigor can claim black metal authenticity all they want, but it does not excuse or disguise the fact that Apokalypse is a wretched heap of underwhelming garbage. Yet another release that suggests Abigor's stature is undeserved.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 05/2010

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Supreme Immortal Art

Abigor - Supreme Immortal Art ©1998 Napalm Records
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 And Soil
7. Magic Glass Monument
8. Exhausted Remnants

It's been well over a decade and a half since I first encountered this new fangled "black metal" movement, and I'm not referring to what Venom, Bathory and others were doing in the 80s. When I first started exploring this odd new offshoot of extreme metal, there were a handful of names that kept bubbling to the surface to be investigated. One of them was Abigor. To this day and after hearing many of their records, I am still baffled at their appeal to anyone as well as their longevity. Having given Supreme Immortal Art, which I believe is their third full length album, a spin, I'm still no further in hammering out any concrete reasons why this band has even had a following of any sort.

First off, although I'm aware there's a lot of self aggrandization in black metal, calling your album Supreme Immortal Art is quite the act of arrogance. You think it might have occurred to the members of the band that they might want to consider making an album that doesn't sound quite so terrible. This is where we insert the disclaimer that black metal was never about high quality production values, but even within that context, this is a lousy sounding record. Their guitar tone, if you want to call it that, is just a reedy, timid tapeworm of treble noise. The mix somehow manages to put each instrument, whether it is the vocals, keyboards, drums or guitar, in conflict with one another. Next up is the fact that their songwriting is generally full of arrangements that rarely go anywhere. Granted, the songwriting shoiuld be better if you're going to have half a chance in hell of arranging things. In short, this entire album is just a mess. So that again begs the question: in what universe is this Supreme Immortal Art and wouldn't that universe immediately collapse back on itself for being so pointlessly chaotic?

So this album still leaves me wondering just what Abigor did that garnered them genre praise? After fifteen years, I still haven't come across any of their work that manages to transcend mediocrity.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 02/2012

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Channeling The Quintessence Of Satan

Abigor - Channeling The Quintessence Of Satan ©1999 Napalm Records
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

Everybody, please give Abigor a round of applause for selecting an Albrecht Dürer engraving to adorn the cover of their newest, Channeling the Quintessence of Satan. If my memory serves me, Abigor used a Dürer (or analogous artist) once before, in a past album; his prints can be far more viscerally intimidating than the typical photographs of circus clowns and mimes gone rotten. It's about time black metal fiends discovered his works.

But does good artistic taste alone justify a worthy purchase? Don't be silly. Fortunately, I think black metallers' voracious musical appetites will be satiated with this release. Unfortunately, no one else's will. There is nothing inherently wrong with this release, mind you, but considering the overwhelmingly favorable reputation that Abigor hold in the black metal community, something seems lacking.

Channeling begins with an ambient intro that sounds like a world in the midst of nuclear winter. Abruptly, a dense, richly polyphonic guitar texture interrupts the eerily tranquil mood, with completely unintelligible vocals buried deep in the cacophony. To my surprise, the music is very melodic, though the melodies are disguised by chromaticism and heavy layering of multiple guitars (Peter says three). The music reaches high pitches and is played at a very fast tempo, with the third guitar meandering through the songs like an apparition. These same sentences aptly describe tracks one through seven, save a Celtic Frost chug that occurs now and then.

Track eight, however, is an utterly horrendous throwaway that sounds nothing like the others; the production here is different and much, much worse. Entitled "Pandora's Miasmic Breath," Roman postulates that Abigor are trying to portray miasma, or swamp vapor, sonically with this piece of refuse. Possible, though there's no way of knowing unless we asked Abigor ourselves, which is perhaps what we should have done in the interview.

Again, Channeling the Quintessence of Satan is worth picking up if you worship this style of metal, though I advise newcomers to begin the Abigor experience with the superior Nachthymnen instead.

Review by Jeffrey Shyu

Review date: 01/2000

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