You sometimes have to take the rough with the smooth. No doubt some old codger has wagged their finger at you at some time to emphasise this very point. ABIGOR do a reciprocal on this one, you take the smooth with the rough.
“Supreme Immortal Art” oft times sounds like the tea boy at the label dropped the master tapes for two different bands and in the event jumbled them up to the extent that they became inextricably joined together. In essence that acquaints to some raw and reedy guitar fighting an uphill battle to try and best the somewhat opulent keyboards that wash over them, in doing so it seems that they are trying to take the sting out the six strings and that just will not do.
Overwhelming this isn't then but hold your horses, the battle is not lost. The contrast between the two driving forces may well be such that they are as compatible as oil and water but, nonetheless, the cosmic airs evoked by the keyboards are such that they present an esoteric atmosphere and a hint of classicism. There is ambition at work on this album, sometimes it is rendered clumsy by the production, which at some point in it's life was stood up by clarity and hasn't had anything to do with her since. There is complexity at work within the obfuscated environs of “Supreme Immortal Art,” the spiralling picked lead runs swirl in counterpoint to the swathe of synths whilst the subdued rhythm scurries along beneath it all like a swarm of rats in a sewer.
In many ways I'd acquaint this album to a lost city, there is something grand and arcane about it but time and nature has robbed it of some of its meaning, there is enough there to hint at the wonder but not enough to quite inspire awe. Some tracks do reach their full potential, “Blood And Soil” goes for broke incorporating infernal pseudo choirs, full pelt surges, vicious invective and that otherworldly atmosphere, it also feels more complete than some of the other tracks. I don't know if ABIGOR set a challenge with this album but it is a tester with or without the intent, it takes some considerable time to absorb the nuances and unscramble the whole through familiarity (unless you can solve Rubik's Cube in 20 seconds, you might make sense of it straight away.) An involving listen then but engrossing?
There are moments that are sublime within the album, unfortunately they are sprinkled like an archipelago, islands in a less than blue ocean. Whereas some albums benefit from some fog of war, it isn't clear whether this one does, the drums suffer from too much muffle and the shift in dynamics loses differentiation due to the murk, that said the bass often jabs along with authority and the snarled contempt of the vocals couldn't be made more obvious. Where ABIGOR succeed without question is with the suggestion of ancient malevolence, it is prime evil where the blade works alongside the beguiling, whereas some bands bludgeon their point home, here there is more artistry and artifice.
Ultimately “Supreme Immortal Art” has it's rewards, deeply flawed it is but the treasure is there to find. Arrogance carries it as well as zeal, I'm persuaded as to its worth though it was a long time coming. ABIGOR show that Black Metal can run with two exclusive textures, this is black silk impregnated with razorwire.
(Online May 25, 2007)