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Abigor - Apokalypse
Review: Black metal does best when it remembers that at best, it's a step away from Discharge-style sheeting punk hardcore riffage; true, this has been infused with the intricate phrasing of neoclassical heavy metal, and the interlocking thematic development through riff conflict of death metal, but when in doubt it is often better to choose a direct and honest simple riff than to embellish with musically-valid decoration that does not serve the artistic objectives of song (and all great artists hope to communicate something through their songs, although to admit that in interviews is to expose them to more scathing criticism once the usually subversive messages are revealed).
Much like the second generation of albums from the classic Nordic bands, this CD succeeds by keeping a constant tempo and cycling through a few bittersweet declining minor-key melodies balanced against robust and stalwart whole tone or chromatic riffs -- finished off with melodic trills and fills and periodic interludes which break down through arpeggiated descents and heart-stopping ascending interval skips. Where most of the effort goes here is the vocals, a quarrelling series of whispers and chants and hisses and a Krieg-like diaphragmic shout; this is quite creative, and adds some atmosphere.
However, what defines this album is its primary strength which is basic fast black metal with melodic embellishment; its patterns are basic and time-tested, and its effect simple and invariant. Its success also defines its limits as being melodic, simple, one-concept black metal, and this is where it is best appreciated: as a corollary to grindcore in the black metal style. It is highly repetitive, gratifyingly violent, and exemplifies the black metal style at this time period in both strength and failings.