Abigor - Orkblut - The Retaliation
Napalm Records
Black Metal
11 songs (24:32)
Release year: 1995
Abigor, Napalm Records
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

As enjoyably listenable as ever, Austrian Black Metallists Abigor would continue to prove their quality and worth on this follow-up to their impressive debut. A single long piece in all but name, Orkblut – The Retaliation is a twenty-four minute EP that tells the conceptual tale of a pagan warrior calling his tribe to fight a glorious if tragic war, and is wonderfully put together. Only four tracks last for more than three minutes, and there are a lot of interludes, but they all tie together expertly and make for a great listen. Abigor are as underrated for their atmosphere as they are for their technicality and experimental outlook, and Orkblut is an excellent example of what was being achieved with Black Metal even at such an early stage in its development.

It’s hard to describe in simple terms, but is something like Burzum attempting an Emperor-esque epic soundscape – Varg wanting war instead of loneliness. The Prophecy opens the EP with enjoyably hammy narration, guitar drones and background shrieks and growls, leading into (real) flute and a seamless summoning of storms with the following Bloodsoaked Overture. At just over two minutes, it’s there and gone before you know it but packs quite a punch, complex, near-technical weavings of percussion and guitars (the former louder than the latter) with layered acoustic guitars providing a touch of melody. The ambient synths of Remembering Pagan Origins make for a nice interlude between that and the continued layered rage of The Rising Of Our Tribe, war drums pounding and mournful acoustic interludes mixing with the fast and furious Black Metal, doing more in five minutes than most other bands were doing on entire albums at the time. You have to listen to it multiple times to really understand it, especially as the EP as a whole is pretty fast-paced and will leave you nonplussed if you don’t pay attention, but the rewards are there – the way it slides into the folky Medieval Echoes is perfectly judged.

There is no filler. Three-part mini-symphony Emptiness - Menschenfeind - Untamed Devastation slows the pace slightly at first, odd-sounding riffs and rhythms contorting over each other in a weirdly ambient way in the centre section with a tumultuous final assault living up to its name. Battlefield Orphans is probably the catchiest track present, although none really fit that word, and even thirty-second outro Langsam Verhallte des Lebens Schmerz has a role, drawing the listen to a close with wistful flute. In many ways, Abigor’s second full-length Nachthymnen (that would be released later in 1995) built upon the sound in this EP and did even greater things with it, but by no means should Orkblut be ignored by fans of the band or of 90s Black Metal in general.

Killing Songs :
Bloodsoaked Overture, The Rising Of Our Tribe, Emptiness - Menschenfeind - Untamed Devastation, Battlefield Orphans
Goat quoted no quote
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 - Time Is The Sulphur In The Veins Of The Saint reviewed by Goat and quoted 89 / 100
To see all 8 reviews click here
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