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Raw Neo-Classical Black Metal - 95%

Taliesin, October 16th, 2006

Here is Abigor's shining moment. On this album Abigor creating the ultimate of what they had been stretching for up to this point. On all albums after this there is a sense of searching for the next level, and though at times they woudl manage to find new ground to cover, they would never return to the beauty, majesty and utter darkness of this release.

On here Abigor define the idea of raw neo-classical black metal. What I mean by that statement is this, there is almost no use of keyboards on here, meaning it really has nothing to do with the symphonic black metal movement as defined by Emperor, Graveland, Dimmu Borgir, etc. Instead the focus is put upon the complex and neo-classical movement of the guitar riffs, which seem always to follow an internal logic connected to the shifting patterns of classical music. Abigor really created their own style of black metal on here. Somewhere in between the raw hatred of their first album and the medieval metal feeling that was on Orkblut (that was like a more avant-guarde Dark Medieval Times). The guitars sound very harsh, and this is one of the reasons that this album can be hard to get into. For all of the album is laid upon the guitarists, very rarely in this form of black metal will you hear an album where there is almost no keyboards and in fact the whole classical element is containted in the guitar riffs. And what riffs they are. Moving from chordal figures to melodic riffs to riffs that are somewhere in between, like the abstract riffing of death metal, but without any emphasis on brutality like most death metal, simply the abstract quality that seem to be like patterns of notes without any co-ordination of melody and rythem.

Often you'll find both guitars going off on different tangents, like classical counterpoint you will hear figures that interlock and create a dark dense pattern that weaves together then parts, always on here you will find constant flowing movement. The vocals, drums and the rare use of keyboard seem to be the aspects that tie all this together into actual songs. The vocals by Silenius mark some of his best work in all the bands of his I have heard. We're talking a dark hateful presence that seems so filled with hatred and intensity that I am often left breathless. Combined with the beautiful (and amazingly well used) female vocals by Elisabeth Toriser (who is in the Austrian dark wave band Dargaard which features the previous vocalist of Abigor), the vocal performances rival the amazing riffs. All this creates a dark spectral beauty and atmosphere that really is quite inspiring and different from most black metal bands.

Abigor were a very mystical and dark band, somewhere in between Satanism and Paganism they simply focused in on mystical atmospheres and feelings that are connected to the roots of the European consciousness. Like all the best of the black metal movement, Abigor were not interested in mindless brutality or overt fantastical elements. Instead they seemingly desired to create a mythic atmosphere that takes from many different sources to create their own dark nocturnal realm. This combined with the intense music that succeeds where most fail, to do anything else but praise this album is misguided. Abigor were a very important band, and none should forget it.

If neo-classical complex and yet raw hateful black metal sounds very appealing to you then pick this up. Abigor never quite rose to this level again, as it is the summation of everything that was great about them (although the rest of their work is pretty good as well). So buy this and revel in the nocturnal twilight realm of Nachthymnen.