Abigor - Opus IV
Napalm Records
Black Metal
8 songs (42:19)
Release year: 1996
Abigor, Napalm Records
Reviewed by Goat
Archive review

Not strictly a full-length in that it's actually two EPs stuck together, recorded separately in 1995 and 1996, Opus IV is nonetheless a decent release from underappreciated Austrian black metallers Abigor, although it's markedly inferior to the excellent Nachthymnen of the year before. Taking the two parts in turn, the first is subtitled Horns Lurk Beyond The Stars and bursts into life immediately with the ferocious Crimson Horizons And Ashen Skies. This is Abigor at their most vicious, all blasting drums upfront with the shrieks and guitars in the background, keyboards almost inaudible aside from the odd atmospheric blast draped over the music. Make no mistake, though, this is primarily an assault, although this being Abigor you're also going to get technical drum battery and breaks for keyboard flourishes that enhance the experience immeasurably.

It's the following Eerie Constellation where things get truly interesting, however, a croaked voiceover leading you into the track as a melodic guitar line dances above raging torrent. The raging continues but becomes more piecemeal and technical, stopping and starting between more melodic moments - especially impressive, as ever, are TT's drums. Mirages For The Eyes Of The Blind is arguably the best moment from this half of the album, accentuating the melodic riffage and really grasping the atmospheric possibilities. A Breath From Worlds Beyond starts to experiment a little with the riffs, allowing them to stand alone before returning to the black metal blizzard, but ultimately doesn't rise above solid.

The second half of the release is subtitled Blut Aus Aeonen and has a different, more muffled-sounding production, something obvious as soon as The Elder God (My Dragon Magic) kicks in. It's stranger, having an interplay between screeched and growled vocals, as well as introducing more acoustic and industrial interludes, which are surprisingly frequent and almost feel thrown in randomly. A flute is introduced towards the end, which is a nice touch but again, feels a little random. Fortunately the next two tracks, parts one and two of Dimensions Of Thy Unforgiven Sins, are the best on the release. Starting with a compelling keyboard motif and building into catchy fury, everything is working as it should with even a brief industrial whooshing being effective. Flute melodies, the varied riffs, even some catchiness during the second part and a folk interlude are all brilliant and make it a compelling showing from Abigor.

So in conclusion, the good: Abigor are untouchable in terms of technical skill, the drumming and guitars often quite amazing for black metal of the time. Where Opus IV is lacking, however, is in the songwriting, which is always solid but often patchy, and sadly not made up for by the best tracks present. It's thus hard to recommend Opus IV despite its clear strengths, as Nachthymnen is by far and away the superior album. Opus IV feels like a step back, less refined, less atmospheric, less impressive all around, but still worthy of ears despite that.

Killing Songs :
Eerie Constellation, Mirages For The Eyes Of The Blind, Dimensions of Thy Unforgiven Sins
Goat quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Abigor that we have reviewed:
Abigor - Leytmotif Luzifer reviewed by Goat and quoted 80 / 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
Abigor - Time Is The Sulphur In The Veins Of The Saint reviewed by Goat and quoted 89 / 100
Abigor - Verw├╝stung / Invoke the Dark Age reviewed by Goat and quoted 89 / 100
To see all 7 reviews click here
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