It seems that the popularity of Austrian black metal institution Abigor has fallen by the wayside in recent years. Despite being a force to be reckoned with in the early 1990’s, and having released 8 full lengths prior to the new release Leytmotif Luzifer over their 21 year existence, interest in them seems to have waned so inexplicably that I wasn’t aware they had even released something new until nearly six weeks after it’s release date. How Abigor have reached such a low ebb of popularity at this stage is unbeknown to this reviewer, as the new release is every bit as great as what they’ve done before. It’s a twisted chaotic record taking you down strange avenues with avant-garde playing and psychedelic elements while still rooted firmly in the black metal sound, and is yet another great effort from Abigor.
The album is filled with so much creativity, especially in the guitars used to create such a vivid spacy effect with a fantastic guitar tone and twisted playing to forge a great psychedelic atmosphere. Some of the twisted guitar lines on Stasis take the technical playing of Emperor on With Strength I burn filtered through a psychedelic haze invoking images of twisted Lovecraftian monsters and non euclidean dimensions, and it’s an inspired performance – not just here but throughout the album. The band’s use of multi-tracking the guitars is great, enabling them to dish out furious tremolo picked black metal riffs while unleashing technical leads with a great psychedelic guitar tone over the top. Add furious blast beats, a thick meaty bass tone and gravelly evil rasps and their traditional black metal sound is intact and powerful as ever. But in the slower sections, with waves of spacey guitar effects and picked discordant chord patterns such as in the middle of Akrasia, you can find what makes their music so great – it’s the unique experimental edge they bring to black metal while never once relenting on the evil atmosphere and heavy sound that the genre is known for.
Brilliant pacing between sections of blasting black metal, psychedelic shredded avant-garde fury and discordant unsettling chord patterns makes it an interesting release throughout, and not only does it make the songs flow brilliantly, but it also means the album flows well from start to finish, it feels like a complete whole, a proper album with no filler or any track which sounds out of place.
Neglect is great from start to finish, from the lovely melodic riffs that herald the start of the track that are enshrined by great rhythmic drumming and cocooned in a deep expansive bass riff and psychedelic effects. The devilish chants that interchange spectacularly with those gravelly screams are great, while that mid paced riff in the middle just reeks of the dirty influence of De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas era Mayhem. It’s a cliché to say it about a great track but it really does seem to end too quickly, but then it transitions beautifully into a track that’s even more impressive in Compos Mentis. From that huge guitar tone on the melancholy opening riff through to the slow stomping section, it’s impressive throughout, especially in the vocal department. Summoning’s Silenius provides the vocals throughout the album, but here the job he does is spectacular, moving from Atilla like croaks and howls to furious earthy bellows, eschewing the aforementioned raspy screams in favour of a more impressive approach. The atmosphere of the music takes on an epic approach with frantic sweeping psychedelic guitars and erratic blast beats and it’s the highlight of the whole album. Ending on an eleven minute opus aptly titled Excessus they just manage to create another great piece of music that takes every aspect of the album and combines it into one incredibly well written song. Evil, chaotic, spacey, and above all exciting, it ends a great album on a particular high.
Black metal takes a journey to space in Leytmotif Luzifer and therein is unleashed the psychedelic horrors which dwell in the realms of Lovecraft, Alien and Hell itself in a nightmarish, breathtaking trip. Abigor are not only still delivering great music against the tide of indifference, but what they’re doing remains vibrant, unique and engrossing. It’s an album that few fans could deny is another great addition to the discography of a fantastic cult band.