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Plenty of window dressing with little substance - 42%

Forbinator, December 31st, 2007

I’m a fan of Abigor, but I see “Verwüstung” and “Opus IV” as being their only albums worthy of purchase. “Supreme Immortal Art” is a pretentious, insincere, unfocused attempt at melodic, symphonic black metal. I must give credit where it’s due though, and say that the song structures are complex, and therefore must have required significant effort in writing. Unfortunately this effort was mostly fruitless, and yes I know this contradicts my review title. The phrase “less is more” has never been more true.

This album is very keyboard/synth laden, and provides some nice melodies. This is intended to be haunting, grandiose and possibly a bit mysterious. The guitars are usually secondary to the keyboards, and the riffs were seemingly written purely as a back-up to the keyboards. Occasionally they emerge with a semi-catchy melody, but generally just chug along in the background. The keyboards are very clean in sound, but the drums tend to be lost in the mix, and this is quite frustrating for the metal listener who wants some aggression or intensity in his/her music, or at least something to punctuate the notes being played. This causes the music to feel like a blur, where definition is lost, especially in the faster sections of songs. The songs rely heavily on Silenius to provide the exclamation marks for individual riffs with his unique snarled screams. The lack of metallic elements in this album causes it to be an unfulfilling listen.

Each song has several different “parts”, as the band was clearly aiming for complexity in song writing, but this seems to be a cover-up for the fact that each part is not particularly interesting on its own. They feel the need to change tempo and melody many times within a song because this is necessary to avoid boredom. As stated earlier, a great deal of effort was put into writing many different riffs and melodies, but they forgot to figure out a meaningful way of putting them all together. In some of the songs there really is nothing to hold them together, no recurring theme or motif to give the songs their identity. The songs are really just a sequence of different ideas and tempo changes. The best music of this genre is able to execute tempo changes by gradually building up to a climax and arousing emotion. Often the transition takes time, requiring repetition. On this album, the tempo changes are tactless and sudden; the lead instruments stop, and then start up again playing a different tune.

Clearly Abigor had difficulty with their transitions between parts of songs, as described above. They even felt the need to separate particular sections with pointless three-second samples. During the title track there are two such instances; the music abruptly stops, an angry man with a deep voice yells something in German (I think) for about three seconds, and then a totally different riff starts up. During “Eclipse My Heart, Crown Me King”, the same thing happens, except with various pointless grunts and groans. During “Blood and Soil”, we have three seconds of operatic female singing, and during “Magic Glass Monument” it’s a man yelling as if he’s about to stab someone. For the better albums of the genre, sometimes reviewers will describe tempo changes and transitions as being “seamless”. The segues listed above are about as effective and aesthetically pleasing as stitching up your pants with spaghetti.

This album would be good as background music, and certainly becomes relegated to this role during the times where I force myself to listen to it. The album title best describes what Abigor’s intent was with this album. They wanted this work of art to be supreme in an objective sense, with lots of “stuff” in it, but they forgot to decide what kind of art they wanted to create.