Abigor - Time Is The Sulphur In The Veins Of The Saint
End All Life Productions
Industrial Post-Black Metal
2 songs (38:16)
Release year: 2010
Reviewed by Goat

As the more astute will be aware, this is an interesting release for more than the usual reasons. Working closely in conjunction with France's Blacklodge, Abigor have produced one half of a musical set of twins, albums that closely resemble each other thematically, released on the same label, even the same date, and available to purchase as one double LP as well as the usual CDs. To give it its full name, Time Is The Sulphur In The Veins Of The Saint - An Excursion On Satan's Fragmenting Principle is sure to have fans of Abigor intrigued as much as ever, even when taken as a single piece of the puzzle - and it is quite a puzzle, combining physics and Satanism in some strange, esoteric unity that I imagine would be hard for the band to explain fully, let alone me. Albert Einstein apparently once said that "time is Satan's way of keeping everything from happening at once" and Abigor take this as their thematic base, beginning the album with a ticking clock, exploding into a cacophony of electronica, guitar noises and distorted vocals. Only initially is this gentle, a more restrained beast than the band's previous album, 2007's Fractal Possession, almost militaristic in its styling, although clearly there will be many changes over each of the two tracks here, both over eighteen minutes each and titled Part I and Part II.

Obviously, going through the tracks and describing each second is missing the point, so I'll stick to generalities. It's quite unusual to hear Industrial Black Metal quite as organic as this, the band seeming to use real, masterly-applied drums and mixing in the electronics - it's certainly not one genre pasted atop another, but a single living breathing entity. Driven by the constantly shifting guitars, which can be whirring and discordant or physical and heavy (and are always played to perfection) the music seems to enjoy leaping from one absolute to the next and keeping the listener wrongfooted. Although this is anything but traditional Black Metal, it's easy to hear that Abigor consider themselves still very much a part of that genre - the furthest from it that they get are some of the melodic clean guitar sections, which remind me of solo Ihsahn more than anything. Yet as progressive as Time Is The Sulphur... undoubtedly is, it's not in the traditional sense of the word. Listening to the whole album, especially eyes closed with headphones, is very much the sort of experience that you generally get from the Sunn O)))s of the world, a dark and disorienting trip through pastures seldom walked.

However, it's interesting that beneath all the madness and chaos, Time Is The Sulphur... seems more structured and even more enjoyable than Fractal Possession. That album, in retrospect, seemed to travel too far in its desire to be oblique and mysterious, whilst here it is managed effortlessly, not needing to rely so much upon the Avant-Garde aspect of songwriting as the music flows so well. If I'm reminded of anything by Time Is The Sulphur... it's of Dødheimsgard's 666 International, yet re-imagined for a new decade. Abigor no doubt curse the Norwegian's name daily for taking this musical path first, but there's no reason they can't follow and even in some ways improve upon Vicotnik and co's unique sound. Not that the two bands are really similar, but it's about as close a comparison as can be warranted, and really Abigor have crossed new frontiers with this album, similar to Dødheimsgard in 1999.

Where 1999 held hope for the coming decade, Black Metal writhing free of its traditionalist confines and striking out for new horizons, 2010 sees an altogether different future for a genre which is still outstanding, considering how much has been achieved in such a short lifespan. The mixed reviews have already started coming in for Abigor, accusing them of all the usual sins - too long, boring, cut-and-paste songwriting - yet this is an album that resists the initial assumptions and generalisations of the review, that outlasts the usual cynicism and mockery, and is sure to be as compelling and relistenable in 2020 as it is now. Of course, Abigor are likely to be off breaking other barriers by then, but for a band that has gone against convention and experimented since its birth in the early 90s they receive startlingly little attention from a Metal scene which usually embraces experimentalism. Hopefully this will change, yet actually scoring this album is difficult because of its nature - score it high for the clear and utter genius, or lower because it's going to be on my playlist for a long time whilst I try and fathom it? What holds me back from the truly high scores is this unsatisfactory sense that the album leaves you confused rather than enlightened - expecting people to give time and attention to an album is tough nowadays where what is downloaded one minute is deleted the next. Such is the Darwinian nature of sounds from the underground, I suppose, that they are heard and appreciated only by the truly worthy, those willing to put the time in and explore, understand. Those that eagerly embraced the otherworldly sounds of Deathspell Omega and The Axis Of Perdition will similarly appreciate this, an album that I will be listening to for a long time to come.

Killing Songs :
Both tracks are excellent
Goat quoted 89 / 100
Other albums by Abigor that we have reviewed:
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
Abigor - Orkblut - The Retaliation reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
To see all 8 reviews click here
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