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The performance of a lifetime. - 82%

Chthonicisms, March 19th, 2011

Whereas Abigor's first demo suggested they were a band with good ideas who might not be able to string those ideas together into a cohesive album, this second demo eliminates all doubt.

Any serious black metal fan is in for a treat with this release. Abigor go from simply showing off the ideas which would form the basis of their musical approach, as in Ash Nazg, to making an actual album providing a unified expression of a musical philosophy. Numerous ambient and/or spoken-word interludes litter these songs, but despite the demo's short running time do not lessen its overall impact. The music starts off with a spirited, though not thunderous, roar; this becomes more unrestrained in the second track, which is a higlight in the band's discography overall. Perhaps to counteract the intensity of the music up to this point, the next two take a more belabored, but far more sinister, approach before closing off the album with a melancholic dirge.

Whereas Abigor would go on to improve the music on each of their further albums in one aspect or another, they would also go on to degrade it in one aspect or another. Verw├╝stung / Invoke the Dark Age replicates this album's propensity for the intensity of counteracting rising crescendos with blasphemies seeping from the underworld; Orkblut - The Retaliation would match its unified narrative leading from one end of the album to the other; and several of their later releases would match and even far surpass the technically impressive aspects of its Mozart-derived guitar composition.

But in all of their subsequent works, one improvement would come at the cost of another detriment; here is where their vision for the album as a unified statement best meets their actual abilities to execute that statement. Here Abigor does not attempt to reach for what it cannot grasp, and as such gives their most impactive work; though not their best in any one aspect alone, it is the best marriage of all the elements that defined their career and provides the most reward on repeated listens.