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The early 90's were arguably the golden age for black metal, as anyone remotely familiar with the genre will attest. Abigor were a band that jumped on the bandwagon in 1993, and by the following year, their debut 'Verwüstung', or 'Invoke the Dark Age' was released. While much of the black metal years before had not amounted to much more than blastbeats and speedy chord work, Abigor used that mainframe to create something a little musically deeper. This Austrian trio takes the black metal aesthetic to the next level on the debut, although the journey is wrought with faults.
Some black metal bands who did something 'new' with black metal could be often defined in one word. Emperor, for example, brought the 'symphonic' sound to black metal. Abigor are not truly innovators, but they are taking a number of different fresh elements and sweeping them together. Among those, Abigor brings Teutonic chanting, orchestral flourishes and folky acoustics to light. Each of these is done fairly well, particularly in regards to the acoustic guitar playing, which remains subtle. Sadly, the rest of the progressive ideas that Abigor brings to the table are somewhat gimmicky. The fake orchestra sample only appears for a brief moment, and jarringly so. It's moments like this that rob the excellent concepts of Abigor of some of their prowess.
In terms of songwriting, 'Invoke The Dark Age' is best defined by a series of great moments and ideas, rather than overall structure and composition. Abigor's sound is divided between the unconventional elements, and a straightforward black metal sound reminiscent of their Norwegian contemporaries. In regards to atmosphere, Abigor lack the resonance of Mayhem, or the epic gloom of Burzum. One aspect Abigor does excel in is their performance, however. The production is painfully typical, but the guitars and drums play beyond many second wave black metal acts. Thomas Tannenberger displays a profound use of the doublekick, and Peter Kubik's use of melodic guitar lines and powerful solos is very beautiful. 'Invoke The Dark Age' is a very good black metal album, but as one could guess, Abigor would still had much to learn here.