Abigor - Taphonomia Aeternitatis - Gesänge im Leichenlicht der Welt
World Terror Committee
Black Metal
8 songs (48:14)
Release year: 2024
Abigor, World Terror Committee
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

Once again living up to their custom of releasing an album at the end of one year or the beginning of another, Austrian black metal gurus Abigor have returned with a fourteenth opus - putting the CD and vinyl on sale just before the holiday season last year, making it undeniably difficult to get hold of for the faithful and delaying the digital release until deep into January's bite. Accordingly, the modern music fan used to having music available at a click would be forgiven for a certain amount of frustration prior to actually listening to Taphonomia Aeternitatis - Gesänge im Leichenlicht der Welt, to give it its full title; only Kanye West's album released on an AI-based digital media player costing $200 is a more obtuse recent example. And to be sure, it's up to Abigor how they release their music and it's definitely in keeping with the essence of black metal to ensure vinyl cultists achieve aural satisfaction before the digital degenerates out there... yet still, it is frustrating.

And that frustration carries over when you actually hear Taphonomia Aeternitatis, an undeniably difficult album that veers away from the relative brutality of recent outings such as Totschläger towards something much more melodic and, at points, even seemingly influenced by power metal? Opener Halt the Wheel of Timeless Change alone walks a particularly deranged path, shifting restlessly through avant-garde blackened riffing with one of the most varied vocal performances yet from Summoning's Silenius, snarling incoherently one moment and bellowing out near-clean strident epic singing the next. He outright duets with himself on Soldaten Satans, a track that moves from near-d-beat straightforwardness to widdly orchestral splendour, and downright forces it to make sense. It's oddly more reminiscent of earlier Solefald than, say, Darkthrone-esque black metal, not a comparison that many would have guessed from this particular group!

Yet Taphonomia Aeternitatis is, unmistakably, Abigor through and through, from the cover art which is as darkly theatrical as ever, through the likes of Feasting on the Prophet's Blood, coming across as an inverted version of Therion with its female vocals and dramatic male orations backed by something of a Greek chorus and punctuated by the progressive dissonant riffing that made Abigor a cousin to Deathspell Omega in recent years. Of course, it also drips with a Cradle of Filth-esque gothic atmosphere, particularly in the track's closing moments, that will entrance and annoy in equal parts, the kind of breathy obnoxiousness that black metal would use far more if it could. Conversely, the following Extermination Angel begins with more grandiose vocal exclamations before launching into a digitally-enhanced battering that sounds like Marduk if the Swedes dwelled in the opera house instead of the battlefield. Abigor is all of these at once, drenching each influence with their signature style and putting it together into an album that is more than the sum of its parts.

And what parts! There's a real variety at play which keeps you guessing constantly. The considered doomy riffing of Cult of Elder Chaos is a hypnotic spell that allows the bass and female vocals to shine, contrasting well with the following Burning Hell, opening similarly before turning into a blackened thrash torrent, lengthy clean-sung sections acting almost as mini-interludes. Forniotrs Weltenreise comfortably stands out with its opening horns and almost Viking metal backing choirs, not to mention a more avant-garde structure and what sounds very close to power metal clean singing towards the end! As a fan of every act mentioned in the review thus far, this is all delightfully bewildering and each confused listen has been a joy. It truly is one of those albums that you have to let wash over you multiple times before you can even begin to understand it, joining a series of recent releases from Abigor that only grow and grow with each listen. Black metal can be a rebellious blast of opposition as much as it can be a dramatic theatrical production, and Taphonomia Aeternitatis manages both. A genuine surprise if not a perfect album; not every track here works, and it does feel very experimental even for Abigor. They always push their sound onward but never like this, and although initially a difficult album to fathom, with time this joins their diamond-coated discography as a true wonder, sure to be a lasting entry on elite black metal playlists this year and beyond.

Killing Songs :
Soldaten Satans, Feasting on the Prophet's Blood, Extermination Angel, Forniotrs Weltenreise
Goat quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Abigor that we have reviewed:
Abigor - Totschläger (A Saintslayer's Songbook) reviewed by Goat and quoted 85 / 100
Abigor - Höllenzwang (Chronicles of Perdition) reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Abigor - Leytmotif Luzifer reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 100
Abigor - Opus IV reviewed by Goat and quoted 75 / 100
Abigor - Nachthymnen (From The Twilight Kingdom) reviewed by Goat and quoted 91 / 100
To see all 10 reviews click here
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