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(Originally posted by me to the Metal Music Archives: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/)
As I sit here with pen in hand and Abigor's Nachthymnen (From the Twilight Kingdom) being channeled from my iPod into my ears, a thought dawns to me: for a band that seems to be so straightforward, Abigor aren't all that easy to digest. I've listened to Verwustung / Invoke the Dark Age before, and even now I can't really form a solid opinion on that album; but that's a review for a different date. I did give a few songs from Verwustung another listen to dscern a few differences between that album and Nachthymnen. What I can safely say is that Nachthymnen is better produced and puts for emphasis on keyboards. Mind you, Verwustung had keyboards as well, but Nachthymnen the make themselves more at home. I guess they have to be if you want to give your album a subtitle like 'From the Twilight Kingdom' (*chuckles to self*).
You know what? The reason why Abigor are more difficult to digest than some other black metal bands is because they put so much time into writing riffs. To test this theory, I listened to "Unleashed Axe Age" and "Reborn Through the Gate of Three Moons" one more time; I counted around ten individual riffs in the former and around 14 individual riffs plus two acoustic riffs in the latter. And these songs are only around six minutes long as opposed to another black metal song with a similar length like Mayhem's "Freezing Moon" which only had around 5 riffs in the song. Abigor may seem like a run-of-the-mill black metal band at a distance; but after picking the song apart like I just did, the music writers seem like very overlooked geniuses. Granted this is still black metal; it has the production, melodic style, and atmosphere of 90's black metal. Abigor just provided more proof that there's more to the genre than the cliched kvltic nonsense that outsiders perceive.
The atmosphere served up on this album compliments the guitar work here very well. There's keyboards, timpani, bells, acoustic guitar, and female vocals. These elements are used in exactly the right way to portray the mystical atmosphere of this Twilight Kingdom. None of them are used excessively, and I would not classify this album as primarily symphonic black metal. Even the keyboards are used sparingly; when I said they were more emphasized, I meant easier to hear.
In the end, I'm going to sincerely say that I really enjoy this album. If you don't pay attention to it, it will just go in one ear and out the other; but this album is very special when you really get into it. Abigor are very good at what they do, and are definitely triumphant in portraying it with these Nacht-hymns.