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An unparalleled condensed masterpiece - 90%

Lord_Jotun, September 23rd, 2003

The tracklist of Abigor's second studio effort, "Orkblut - The Retaliation", is somewhat deceiving. With 11 tracks, anyone would think it's a full length we have here. That's because the song duration is not listed on the back cover. The truth is that "Orkblut" is a MCD clocking at around 25 minutes. Maybe if the duration would have been shown on the case many would turn away in disappointment, and they couldn't make a worse move.
This MCD is one of the most brilliant chapters in Abigor's career, and an unique offering in its own splendour.

Subtitled "Storming Onwards on Pagan Paths", "Orkblut" is the musical translation of a concept: the story of a pagan warrior which (re)discovers the origins of the pride and culture of his people and leads his tribe onwards into war, until he himself dies a glorious death in battle and finds tranquliity in the soft and last sleep. While the story may not be extremely original, it sets a very stimulating background for Abigor to unleash their creativity.

While the "complete" songs are only four, the album is full of instrumentals and interludes which create a great effect in terms of atmosphere. "Orkblut" may be best described as a single composition divided into 11 skippable tracks, which is obviously best enjoyed and understood through a single listening session. "Orkblut" is a concept mini album, a metal opera compressed in less than half an hour, something which stands unparalleled in Black Metal as far as my knowledge goes.

Even the aforementioned songs, however, have a shorter duration compared to Abigor's standards, but despite it they still manage to showcase many different moods and riffs as usual. Each of them fits the concept perfectly but could easily stand on its own, also thanks to this shortness which underlines the intensity and makes the stucutures less dispersive: "The Rising of Our Tribe" shows Abigor's talent in combining blasting assaults to moodier passages; "Emptiness / Menschenfeind / Untamed Devastation" is, as the title suggests, a three-part piece comprised of a beautiful keyboard introduction which turns to a guitar riff, an acoustic interlude and a furious grand finale; "Battlefield Orphans" is the perfect tune for war with its fast, breathless pace, and finally "Severance" shows an almost thrashy approach to speedy riffs.

The rest of the material is what holds the concept together and makes "Orkblut" a listening experience without a single moment of quality drop, a full immersion in the medieval and pagan atmosphere. These interludes feature beautiful acoustic guitars and flutes, narrated vocals and even ambient-like keyboard textures provided by the band's ex-member Rune / Tharen. Particularly amazing is "Bloodsoaked Overture", a great Black Metal instrumental which begins right after the first track, the introductory "The Prophecy", and evolves as a whirlwind of razor sharp riffs and thunderous drums.

This MCD is one of Abigor's best offerings and a courageous, norm-defying creation which should not be overlooked. Just let it carry you away into its ancient pagan atmosphere.