Abigor – Apokalypse

Author: Brendan Blake

Abigor – Apokalypse
  • Artist: Abigor
  • Album: Apokalypse
  • Year of Release: 1997
  • Country: Austria
  • Label: Napalm
  • Format: Jewelcase CD
  • Catalogue Number: NPR 027

After some years of being quietly at the progressive edge of mid-90s black metal (there weren’t too many black metal bands regularly employing a flautist at the time, or indeed now), Abigor decided to release the somewhat curious Apokalypse EP. The liner notes suggest it was “produced and mixed in a few hours… for ultimate raw apocalyptic Black Metal listening pleasure exclusively”. At this stage in their career, Abigor were known to fans for the variety ever-present in their song-writing, while still being firmly within a genre at the time mostly known for its traditionalism (No Mosh! No Core! No Trends! No Fun!) – although around about 1997, all of that was about to change. In stark contrast to the wave of experimentation that was about occur, it seems Abigor had something they needed to get out of their system.

At under 18 minutes in length, Apokalypse comes across as nothing more than a paean to the Scandinavian black metal scene, particularly the raw, stripped down “true” black metal of Darkthrone. The near-ubiquitous blast beats open ‘Celestial’ and barely let-up until the end of the EP, showcasing none of TT’s usual flair, although that’s not intrinsically a criticism. Riffing occasionally shows elements of the melody associated with most prior Abigor releases, but is much more redolent of the tremolo-picked works from the original Peaceville Darkthrone records. There is some variation in the vocals – Silenius is usually quite distinctive, but here is either consciously or unconsciously channelling the likes of Aldrahn (Dødheimsgard) and occasionally even Attila Csihar.

This is a frustrating release. It’s certainly passable, even good, but ultimately derivative, and that’s a thing you never want to say about an Abigor release. There’s a palpable sense of hatred and rage here, and that raises this above the generic work of lesser bands, and a sub-par release from Abigor is still better than most black metal bands can ever possibly aspire to. But it is also forgettable, particularly when placed among the glittering jewels of the rest of the early Abigor discography. And at under 18 minutes in length becomes a curio of interest to die-hard fans only.

Score: 70%

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