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Abigor - Supreme Immortal Art
Review: Like The Abyss, Abigor represented a tail-end movement of the first wave of black metal bands that stood evenly between the arch majestic poetry of Norwegian black metal and the thunderous over-the-top theatre of riotous absurdist extremes that bands like Cradle of Filth made home with their brand of Iron Maiden-derived heavy metal.
Abigor is less heavy metal than Cradle of Filth, and less minimalistic than The Abyss, but is nonetheless designed without the grace of the original Nordic black metal; it is like a carnival seen from a merry go round, where different sections of the show flash by as one rotates, each screaming at top volume in its own way for attention. Lightbulbs flicker, balloons pop, clowns dance... in Abigor, keyboards bang out a melancholic version of Billy Joel solos while guitars cycle through riffs that although arrayed linearly do not flow well into one another and even more, represent no consistent style or vision; palm-muted speed metal riffs clash with lead-picked black metal riffing, followed by a heavy metal riff repeated at two points in the diatonic scale.
Like Satyricon, it has all the elements of successful black metal, but they are like an alphabet soup of techniques: no message emerges and, while the listener can be distracted by the excellence of individual riffs or the comical interplay of keyboards and guttural whispers and delicately arpeggiated string plucking, the clarity that defined black metal is replaced by a kind of overwhelmed confusion that captures the aesthetic (surface; sense; style; sound) of black metal without the way of writing music, and consequently of seeing the world, that made it great. There are enough interruptions to keep the listener confused as to overall direction, but when this album is contemplated after its conclusion no clear or unclear picture emerges, only a collection of photos related only by time and the mixed heritage of black metal as a descendant of both blockhead hard rock and classical music.
For those who desire the black metal sound, this band is as proficient as any; for those who desire the black metal experience, this carnival of disconnected dramatic distractions is the wrong path to take.