Abigor - Totschläger (A Saintslayer's Songbook) review

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Band: Abigor
Album: Totschläger (A Saintslayer's Songbook)
Release date: December 2020

01. Gomorrha Rising - Nightside Rebellion
02. Silent Towers, Screaming Tombs
03. Orkblut (Sieg Oder Tod)
04. The Saint Of Murder
05. Scarlet Suite For The Devil
06. La Plus Longue Nuit Du Diable - Guiding The Nameless
07. Tartaros Tides
08. Flood Of Wrath
09. Terrorkommando Eligos

"There is no one alive who is youer than you."

Far be it from me to suggest the oft-quoted doctor had the likes of an Abigor review in mind while masterminding his esteemed birthday well-wishing, but it nevertheless rings true when taking into account the nomadic nature of their varying states of musical evolution. With their penchant for sometimes haphazard experimentation and wanton exploration within the confines of black metal, there has been a shadowy mark of inconsistency that wears itself like a cloak across the band's discography, draped flamboyantly in blatant disregard of the societal norms perpetrated by those fashion police looking to enforce their own interpretation of apparel law on their unfortunate subjects. But these stage-shy Austrians cater only to their own creative whims, as evidenced by this recurring unconventional foundation used to further push the envelope in a bilateral direction, simultaneously more calculated and mechanical, yet emancipated in delivery. Rather than perform a character study on each preceding Abigorian world crafted in the Twilight Kingdom, this analysis instead will focus on the end-of-year's Totschläger (A Saintslayer's Songbook), perhaps the outfit's most triumphant project to date.

The framework herein is incredibly structured, with an emphasis on razor-sharp precision in terms of the technical performance that never relents throughout its 50 minute duration. Between the sinister sounding melodies and machine gun war drums for Satan's armies to march in tandem with, there's a distinct effort made to avoid repetitive references nearly every step of the way, even though, thematically, waging war on the heavens is familiar territory for Abigor. Their refusal to let an idea stagnate keeps the album flowing masterfully without any jarring distractions despite there being vast changes in tone and tempo, momentary dissonant chaos and acoustic breaks, and alluring classical elements designed to overwhelm the senses in collusion with Silenius' dynamic vocal range. The juxtaposition of his pitched howls, agonizing shrieks, and raspy snarls alongside eerie piano interludes, foreboding bells, and epic synth sections acts as an outpouring of innovation that serves to sustain the listener with intricacies and nuances to be discovered later with repeat listens, an increasingly rare characteristic as bands both new and old fall victim to utilizing previously fleshed out vessels of superior influential acts from whence they came (if not from themselves), adding to the already saturated market of been there, done-that, one-and-done releases.

Totschläger (A Saintslayer's Songbook) is a complex experience, and something fairly mood-specific, which works against the brilliance on display as it isn't as readily digestible as other 2020 releases. It has some built-in requirements and demands of the listener's full attention and possible need for immediate visitations in the future in order to be properly digested, but the effort of peeling back its layers individually as opposed to quickly chopping through to the center will be rewarded in kind. The descent into Hell. The rise into Heaven. These aren't journeys meant to be made swift. Even Abigor take heed to abide those laws.

Rating breakdown
Performance: 10
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Production: 8


Written on 11.01.2021 by I'm total pro; that's what I'm here for.


Comments: 7   Visited by: 140 users
11.01.2021 - 14:31

Good review like it
11.01.2021 - 14:35
This makes me want to use "hitherto" in a review.
Do you think if the heart keeps on shrinking
One day there will be no heart at all?

2021 goodies
11.01.2021 - 23:14

Great album indeed.
12.01.2021 - 06:06
Troy Killjoy
Written by RaduP on 11.01.2021 at 14:35

This makes me want to use "hitherto" in a review.

Do it; it's a great word.
"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something."
12.01.2021 - 06:06
Troy Killjoy
Written by TenebrisAlas on 11.01.2021 at 23:14

Great album indeed.

Now to see how they follow it up...
"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools because they have to say something."
12.01.2021 - 20:39

I love the album front to back and can only agree with the review .. I found it particularly enjoyable how Abigor manages to veer sometimes into avantgardish sometimes into classical directions without it sounding too forced or unneccesarily overcomplicated
06.03.2021 - 01:11

This album is excellent. Another example of the fact that Troy doesn't rate many albums high, but when he does they're essentially always good

I'm really enjoying their 2007 album, Fractal Possession as well

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