Abigor – Höllenzwang: Chronicles of Perdition (2018) REVIEW

On their tenth full-length studio album Austrian black metal legends Abigor have created an initially blurry storm of noise that edges into focus with each successive listen. ‘Höllenzwang: Chronicles of Perdition’ is a complex tornado of melodic black metal riffings, howling screams, bursts of seemingly random drum patterns strung together atop menacing layered growls and guitar squeals. Abigor initially found success in directing this marriage of orthodox black metal chaos and melodic passages and in many ways this record delivers an ADHD collaboration of past and present. For all of the frustration I felt surrounding the challenging nature of the material it -did- eventually all buzz together into one very driven stream of passionate black metal riff-jam.

Beneath the guttural belches, screaming, howling and snake-hiss of the band of Orcs they’ve hired to vocalize the album is a heavy undercurrent of free-form guitar riffs. My appreciation of the album initially depended upon following the guitar journey and figuring out what was intentional and what was improvised. At least half of the riffs here appear free-wheeling and improvisational guitar jamming that was formed somewhat loosely into a series of focused songs. On some level this is how thousands of bands make music but on ‘Höllenzwang: Chronicles of Perdition’ it feels viciously loose and almost amateurish in the single-tracked guitar breaks that separate songs. What saves this format is that the riffs are all pretty good, if not often great. It is as if I’m seeing the band confidently perform a medley of their last 15 years live in studio. Because of this atmosphere and composition I have to say the experience is both incomparable and befuddling.

If you go into this Abigor album without understanding that it is a conglomerated ~40 minute surge of ideas that are thrust-through and driven without a great separation of theme; it might not immediately piss you off. As soon as I was over the hump of disarray the structure of the album presents it was incredible. I’m not sure how compelling an album really should be for the sake of it being it’s own obstacle, though. For a Satanic extreme metal band pushing 30 years of activity this couldn’t possibly be more confident, dark, and forward-thinking. Abigor deserve accolades all year for it.

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Artist Abigor
Type Album
Released January 1, 2018
PREVIEW on their Bandcamp! Follow Abigor on Facebook
Genres

Indulging in the shadows. 3.95/5.0

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