Abigor - Höllenzwang (Chronicles Of Perdition) - (9/10)
Published on January 10, 2018
There are probably very few black metal bands that have been active since the 1990s and they still release top notch albums. Abigor are one of the first names that pop in my head when thinking of those bands. In their latest effort Abigor prove once again that they are one of the essential names of both the old and the new ages. Höllenzwang (Chronicles Of Perdition) has all the attributes that make an Abigor album easily distinguishable such as ferocious drumming, busy guitars that in constant conflict with each other and sturdy bass lines.
This new work from the Austrian lot might prove to be one of their most important-keep in mind that their last full length was Leytmotif Luzifer (The 7 Temptations of Man) in 2014 which was a feast for the ears of any black metal fanatic. In Höllenzwang the band again looks to the past without stopping to move forward. This particular approach renders every Abigor album as an exemplary black metal album, from the eternal classic that is Nachthymnen to the more experimental Fractal Possession and anything before, betwixt and after those.
Höllenzwang surprisingly does not surpass 40 minutes in length at just 35:57 but those are more than enough for the band to unleash a visceral attack against the listener. And probably sums up what black metal is when it comes to the music. Visceral, ravaging art with total disregard to the listener’s sentiments, holding its own values and purposes and submits only to them. Abigor have never been anything else. They are totally anti-commercial, and the fact that they released this album independently further cements what I’m trying to state here. Abigor did not just release an album that has a black metal sound and the such. They released an opus that is black metal in essence, a work that could be nothing else but black metal in its purest form. And the fact that they have been doing so for the past two and a half decades probably grants them the title of the truest band in the genre at the moment.
Apart from that even the instrumentation is rather simplistic in approach but the result is anything but simple. Only two guitar tracks, one left and one right without overdubs. Drums and bass that are present in every moment without being too technical for the sake of it. In the band’s words, the drums are blastbeat free. This detail is one of those that make this album so important, by adding to the retrospective nature of it.
The vocals done by Silenius are frantic, they are the only part of the album that is multilayered and rightfully so. In general it is simultaneously a very well though-out album and a very spontaneous one. Trying to comprehend why everything in here is as it is, is pointless and beyond reasoning. As for the lyrical content, I think that anyone who has experienced Abigor’s past works knows what to expect. Again staying true to the genre’s core principles Höllenzwang is a frenetic exercise in devil worship. But even the newcomers should get that by a mere glance at the track list with such song titles as “All Hail Darkness and Evil”, “Our Lord’s Arrival – Black Dearh Sathanas” and “The Cold Breath of Satan”.
To conclude, this is exactly what you should expect from a band like Abigor. One more essential release in their catalog that is not to be overlooked. Despite being released so early in the year no one should forget about it and I don’t believe that anyone will, I certainly won’t at least. Easily one of the finest albums of the year and one that I will listen to frequently without any feeling of exhaustion since its flow is magnificent. Höllenzwang (Chronicles Of Perdition) is a compelling and fascinating work that honors and continues the legacy of black metal without compromise.