Author: Brendan Blake
- Artist: Abigor
- Album: Satanized (A Journey Through Cosmic Infinity)
- Year of Release: 2001
- Country: Austria
- Label: Scarecrow Records
- Format: Digipak CD
- Catalogue Number: SC01006
And now I begin my somewhat lonely vigil, reviewing the lesser-quality Abigor albums post the triumphant double header of Supreme Immortal Art and Channeling The Quintessence Of Satan. Satanized (A Journey Through Cosmic Infinity) sees the band attempting their first effort without founding member, drummer T.T., taking some small steps to move away from the convoluted chaos black metal of their output to date. The slightly medieval conceits of previous records have been replaced by a more cosmic take on the genre. Even in 2001 this wasn’t entirely original, and ironically seems a retrogressive step for a previously progressive band.
I want to be clear – I don’t think this is a terrible record. In fact, listening back after many years of it sitting gathering dust on a shelf, there’s a fair deal to love here – it’s well produced, giving guitar, bass and particularly drums room to breathe without descending into chaos. The intricacy of previous Abigor albums is still there, albeit tempered by more frequent thrash-type tempos and riffing; I can definitely hear some early Voivod and Kill ‘Em All-era Metallica in some of the song structures, although overall the touchstone remains predominantly Scandiwegian.
So what’s wrong with it? It’s an album defined primarily by what it’s not. Thurisaz is clearly not the frontman that Silenius was; his black metal rasp functional but one-dimensional, without range or texture, and the attempts at clean vocals are charitably described as somewhat laughable. It’s nice to be able hear the bass again, and the guitar production means that Abigor’s trademark convoluted riffing is pushed to the fore, even if it comes across as slightly more straightforward (dare I say punting at classic 80s metal?) than previously, and new drummer (Dornenreich’s Moritz Neuner) is clearly more than competent. But it lacks the depth and intricacy of their previous output to date. The “spacey” moments and keyboard interjections should really be left to the likes of Dødheimsgard and Arcturus. I guess I find it a little bit sad that a band that set themselves apart by doing things like using a flute alongside black metal ending up sounding so generic and dated. They sounded dated when this was released in 2001, and this is not a group going for retro – this is a group thinking they’re going for futuristic, but missing the point resolutely. I want to like this far more than I do. Surely a poor vocal performance on a black metal record, or the occasional misjudged keyboard insertion (see ‘The Redeemer’s Return’) is not enough to damn a record? OK, I’m trying to be as objective as possible – this is a totally fine, middle of the road, early 00s black metal record, not doing anything spectacularly innovative, not rocking the boat, but not disgracing itself either. But for a band of Abigor’s prior calibre that’s just not good enough for this reviewer. If you’re a completist – buy this album. If you are not – buy any of the previous Abigor albums in preference (and indeed its direct successor).