Abigor - Nachthymnen (From The Twilight Kingdom)
Napalm Records
Black Metal
9 songs (48:58)
Release year: 1995
Abigor, Napalm Records
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

Raw, blasphemous, and surprisingly melodious, Austrian black metal horde Abigor have existed on the fringes of the acceptable for far too long without gaining the kudos that they deserve. Whether it’s the modern inscrutability of their industrial experiments or their classic operatic-imbued gloriousness, the band go ignored whilst lesser acts receive greater plaudits for lesser achievements. It’s a travesty, and one that can only be resolved by praising the band to the skies – although they have always chosen the underground’s dark comfort when given a choice, Abigor have experimented so much and so well that praising them is a necessity for any black metal fan worth his or her salt. I’ve always praised this band’s willingness to experiment, and will always do so – moments here like Scars In The Landscape Of God, which mix old-Emperor-esque buzzing melody with folksy acoustic melancholy, are so well designed and executed that listening to them is a pleasure even now.

Yes, a real pleasure... Technical musicianship and flawless songwriting rarely come together so well in other genres, let alone in black metal, yet Abigor are nothing if not trend-setters, and so this album shows. The rampaging yet melodic raging of Reborn Through The Gates of Three Moons is proof alone, blastbeats forming a furious undercurrent for the complex keyboards and guitars to ride atop with absolutely wonderful results. Yes, I did call them operatic black metal previously, and not in any way that Nightwish fans would appreciate; Abigor instead taking classical music as an essential building block in the formation of their style, female vocals and epic kettle-drum percussion an enhancement to the otherwise kvlt musical terrain rather than being placed there for their own sake. Take the moments of forlorn female vocals in Dornen as an example, wonderfully effective, with melancholic riffs and despairing screeches only enhancing the depressive effect. You may have to listen hard to hear the various influences that go into a blaster like As Astral Images Darken Reality, but all with ears will agree that they are there.

As with any album that so epitomises the hard graft of genius at work, picking the best tracks is difficult. Yet the epic melodies of Revealed Secrets Of The Whispering Moon will have all but the most resilient eagerly headbanging, so potent is the central melody around which the instruments form a black metal maelstrom. Even the keyboard usage here is tasteful and designed to complete the package, although the mere fact that Abigor often choose acoustic strums instead shows their classiness. They can even use wolf howls in A Frozen Soul In A Winter Shadow without coming over as daft! Few would class this as anything less than Abigor’s best album, their triumph; where their sophisticated songwriting influences truly came together and created an album that deserves repeated listens just to understand, let alone condense into mere words. Creativity in black metal generally takes the form of outlandish, ill-fitting experiments that succeed due to their sheer oddness – it speaks volumes that the most skilful musicians are able to replicate these experiments by incorporating said elements into their sound as a whole, and few manage this quite so well as Abigor. Of all their albums, this is the one that I’d recommend as vital, if I had to pick only one. But of course, bollocks to such limitations, listen to as much as you can – you can never have too much of a good thing. There's a reason that Nachthymnen holds a special place in dark hearts, however, a reason that only becomes clearer the more you listen to it...

Killing Songs :
All, especially Unleashed Axe-Age, Scars In The Landscape of God, Reborn through The Gates of Three Mirrors, As Astral Images Darken Reality, A Frozen Soul In A Winter Shadow
Goat quoted 91 / 100
Other albums by Abigor that we have reviewed:
Abigor - Leytmotif Luzifer reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Abigor - Opus IV reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
Abigor - Orkblut - The Retaliation reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
Abigor - Time Is The Sulphur In The Veins Of The Saint reviewed by Goat and quoted 89 / 100
Abigor - Verwüstung / Invoke the Dark Age reviewed by Goat and quoted 89 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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