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Founded in 2014, in Malmö by Mattias Svensson (ex-Saturnus, and others) and Henrik Kindvall (Skald, and more), later adding drummer Johan Mathisson (...
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Abigorum : Exaltatus Mechanism

Abigorum's debut full-length combines an excellent sinister musical atmosphere with somewhat idiosyncratic vocals.

This is Russian band Abigorum's first full-length release after years of teetering on the brink via demos, collaborations, and splits. The simplest way to describe what it is they bring to music is that it is dark. View it as a Black/Funeral Doom hybrid of sorts, and that should be sufficient for any expectations here.

For the most part, I enjoyed what Abigorum composed on 'Exaltatus Mechanism'. Musically, it's very sinister and foreboding with screeching vocals. I'd have liked to see what the Russians did with better production though. I'm all in favour of a raw sound for raw music but some of the vocals on this release sounds like they were recorded on a megaphone, for example. At such times, the vocalist sounds like a disgruntled German commander from World War II, which is the work of new German recruit Timo Thiele. On one hand, I'm delighted that the arrival of him and his compatriot, Sandra Batsch, has prompted Abigorum to release an album. On the other hand, however, I can't really believe that Aleksey (band founder) would have sent the music in this direction had it been left to him. It's a Catch-22 of sorts.

I like the riffs on 'Exaltatus Mechanism', as they contribute to the evil atmosphere in a very healthy fashion, if I may be so bold as to phrase it that way. Sandra does a cracking job on bass, ensuring that the overall sound consistently chugs toward the depressive conclusion that the band clearly strives for on this release. A lot of the elements the band has assembled with that goal in mind work. It's just these 'megaphone vocals' that take the sound in a whole different direction, and it's not one I can get on board with.

Imagine fusing wacky Black Metal one-man band Nargaroth with Funeral Doom legends Skepticism, and I believe you'd end up with something like 'Exaltatus Mechanism' because of the polarising concepts. I'm all in favour of bands attempting new things, especially in Doom Metal, but I don't find that this combination works. Again, 80% of what the band does on this album suits me down to the ground but it's tarnished too often vocally for my liking. 'Der Ängstliche Mensch' is one of few examples where their approach works for a fleeting period of time but in general, I'm left rather cold by it.

Another problem caused by this very specific vocal approach from Timo is that it forces the music to remain at the same pace throughout. I'm not suggesting that the band would benefit from any tempo shifts, per se, but they don't have the luxury of the choice as these - I can only describe them as 'spoken war commands', sorry! - cannot be appropriately slotted into music in any other way. I think this restricts Abigorum too much for what is a band with creativity and potential, which is sad to see.

Indeed, it's a shame more than anything. I want to like this album but I feel like I can't as much as they deserve because of the reasons mentioned above. There's a lot to work with going forward, and this is a band I will happily keep an eye on for that reason. I just hope they ditch this vocal approach because it's seriously holding them back, in my opinion. They could do with improving their production just a tad to stop it sounding quite as wooden as it does at times but the overbearing issue remains the vocals for me. I simply can't fathom why they felt the need to do it. The German language is naturally volatile and aggressive (not to mention bloody complicated to learn!) so it doesn't need any enhancement to come across as evil!

Anyway, musically speaking, I enjoyed this album a lot, especially the bass riffs, which were loaded with venomous power. Indeed, I can't fault the musicianship at all. I love the atmosphere generated. It's just one thing that needs to be changed for an album like this to be excellent. I'm sure some will disagree with me but for me, 'Exaltatus Mechanism' was only a single step from excellence before falling at the final hurdle. It was one hell of a fun ride, though!

Favourite tracks - I loved 'Krieg' for its hypnotising riffs, and I found 'Über Dich' to be extremely beautiful and evil in equal measure.

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Reviewer's rating: 7/10


Tracklist :
1. Grau Und Schwarz
2. Maskenball
3. Jetzt
4. Für Die Ewigkeit
5. Königreich Dunkelheit
6. Der Ängstliche Mensch
7. Krieg
8. Über Dich
9. Das Kloster

Duration : Approx. 46 mins

Visit the Abigorum bandpage.

Reviewed on 2020-08-19 by Ian Morrissey
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