Abigor – Höllenzwang (Chronicles of Perdition) (Avantgarde)Wednesday, 24th January 2018
At one point — probably the late ’90s — Abigor was the face of Austrian black metal. Such a feat doesn’t carry the same weight as being the face of Norwegian or Finnish black metal, but point being, the duo of P.K. (Peter Kubik) and T.T. (Thomas Tannenberger) had Abigor out front based on the strength of Supreme Immortal Art and Channeling the Quintessence of Satan, the latter remaining their penultimate work. However, the pair took some ill-advised steps on 2001’s Satanized (A Journey Through Cosmic Infinity), leading, in part to their 2003 demise. The band would reform three years later, but things have never quite been the same in Abigor-land, something Höllenzwang (Chronicles of Perdition) may not be able to correct.
In the accompanying album bio, it’s pointed out Abigor employed nary a blastbeat nor multi-tracked guitar here, which, if you’re keeping score on black metal necessities, matters. If you’re interested in good songs, then it doesn’t. Höllenzwang is purposely disjointed, held together, somehow, with a spate of totally bizarre riff choices and chord movements, resulting in some wildly technical songs, but none that have leverage. Summoning vocalist Silenius chips in sessions vocals, turning in the album’s most spirited moment on the first cut, no less, “All Hail Darkness and Evil.”
The songs here are labyrinthine, utterly twisted and lacking virtually no frame of reference or foundation. Odd, since it was recorded as a throwback to simpler times, although Abigor simply could have been referencing avoiding modern production tactics. Either way, Höllenzwang (Chronicles of Perdition) goes above and beyond the obtuse, keeping Abigor right where they want themselves, apparently: Way on the outside, never to enter the black metal inner circle again.