Austria’s premier Black Metal act ABIGOR is no more! The band recently split up, so we figured this would be a good opportunity to contact mainman Peter Kubik (probably better known as "P.K." to most of you) for a retrospectral view on the entire history of the band. Here’s the result…
You founded ABIGOR together with Thomas (T.T.) way back in mid 1993… What actually lead to the origin of a Black Metal act at the time and what have you done prior to that? Did you gain any other musical experiences in bands before already?
The first time we played together in 1990 with TO MEGA THERION later called IN SIN, but because of lack of time the band was laid on ice. Someday in 1993 I met Thomas again and we decided to start ABIGOR with some more motivation, and the attitudes of Black Metal because it was the most suitable way of expression for us.
What inspired the band’s name and did you plan on having any kind of musical concept based around it when you started out? Was ABIGOR ever meant to be a Satanic band?
We chose ABIGOR because it’s the demon of war, a commander of the infernal legions. In our opinion the best choice because of the bands concept… Well, "concept" we had ideas and visions, but there was no real concept as we started, it all came natural, we knew which music we’d like to create and we had our personal views. Of course, ABIGOR was meant to be satanic, it was a Black-Metal band, so what?! We fully supported extreme attitudes from 1993 til’ ABIGOR’s end, and personally I still do… My personal attitudes have nothing to do with ABIGOR, or Black Metal, I am very into Occult and The Underworld themes so ABIGOR was a "valve" a way of unleashing that personal interests through music
How did you hook up with Thomas (T.T.)? Did you guys know eachother before already?
We knew each other since we’re 3 years old… Besides that he played in a Thrash Metal band, and I knew he was a fucking awesome drummer.
What made you go for "P.K." and "T.T." as your "nicknames", instead of the usual Black Metal pseudonyms that still get used up till today?
Simply because we couldn’t stand that Lord XY, Count Total Darkness Bullshit…, Master Of All Evil Farts, you know what I mean, that was never of importance for us. People should see ABIGOR as a union and not each person behind it as separate part that does only his instrument, because ABIGOR was a union and everyone added his ideas no matter what it concerned.
How long did it take you until you finally got together with Rune (Tharen) as your vocalist (what had he been up to previously) and did you never try to get a fourth member (on bass or guitar) in the line-up?
Tharen was also a friend of us we knew long before ABIGOR, so he joined the band a few weeks after ABIGOR was born. No, the line up was perfect, a profesional bass player might be great, but for ABIGOR bass was not really necessary, so we played it by ourselves.
In October of 1993 you already recorded your debut demo, "Ash Nazgh…" (which featured the tracks ‘Dance Of The Dead’, ‘In Sin’ and ‘Shadowlord’). Tell us more about the origin of that tape and the songs in particular?
Pew, "Ash Nazgh…" was the most raw and unprofessional demo we did… We recorded all our demos on my 4-track and mastered the stuff on DAT, but with no effects. I even don’t have the demo anymore, but the songs have been very harsh and Tharen’s voice just straight and awful
‘In Sin’ later resurfaced on your debut album "Verwüstung / Invoke The Dark Age", while a re-recording of ‘Shadowlord’ exclusively got used for the Napalm Records compilation "With Us Or Against Us Vol.1" in the spring of 1995… What was the reason that you never used ‘Dance Of The Dead’ throughout your entire career anymore?
‘In Sin’ on "Verwüstung" and ‘Shadowlord’ aren’t the original versions featured on "Ash Nazgh…" both songs have been overworked and completely changed (yeah, I know… so, maybe the question wasn’t asked properly enough – Frank). ‘Dance Of The Dead’ was some kind of intro with spoken vocals
You seemed to be really fast songwriters at the time as your next demos, "Lux Devicta Est", the "Promo-Tape 2/’94" and the "Moonrise" demo followed rather quickly (in December of 1993, February and March of 1994 to be exact)… What was the reason for writing and releasing so much material in such a short period of time? Tell us a bit more about those tapes and the songs as well.
Just because Thomas and I wrote songs, so we rehearsed about 1-2 the week and everyone had a few songs and riffs finished, so we wrote song after song and released demo after demo, it was nothing we really ever thought about, it was nothing special for us. The demos were some kind of "searching", through the demos and its compositions we fixed and defined ABIGOR’s style, so the demos were some kind of natural development that show ABIGOR’s progress very well.
A lot of those demo songs re-surfaced on your debut album later on, so does that mean, that you were already quite satisfied with what you came up with at the time or was it more a lack of new material and the demand from the ABIGOR underground fans that lead to that?
We wanted the fucked up demos in a good quality, even we were satisfied with the songs, so we decided to record a main part of the songs on "Verwüstung", even we overworked the songs, changed some riffs and shit like that, the essence has been the same and the quality was acceptable.
Around that time the Austrian Black Metal Syndicate (ABMS) became quite known in the worldwide underground… do you think this unity of like-minded really helped the Austrian scene / bands in any way? What is your opinion about the bands that were involved in that?
Hard to say, as we joined the ABMS we thought it’s a supportive basement for the involved bands but at the end it turned more and more into some funny bullshit of those bands of Vienna, while we wanted to go into a more professional and much more musical dedicated direction, so we left it. If I am right PAZUZU, SUMMONING, GROMM and some others where involved, some where ok, some sucked, mainly the members had problems with my views and attitudes, anyway, who cares?!
After the release of the "Moonrise" demo, Tharen had to leave ABIGOR and got replaced by Silenius… As this was your first line-up change, I would like to know what actually lead to the split with him and how quick you managed to hook up with Silenius. Do you think this change made ABIGOR even stronger, or did something of the original spirit already get lost on the way?
At this time we got the deal with Napalm, and the studio session was fixed. During the rehearsals Tharen more or less lost his motivation and interest, so we decided to replace him because of his unprofessionality. Silenius was very interested in joining ABIGOR so he was a good choice and after the recordings for our debut "Verwüstung" I guess ABIGOR become even more stronger without any loss of its true spirit!
With Silenius you recorded the "In Hate & Sin" promo demo (in May of 1994), which was never officially released. What was the reason for that? Were you already negotiating with record labels (or Napalm in particular) at the time and they wanted to hear some new material first?
As we recorded "In Hate & Sin" we already were signed to Napalm, it was just a prove of showing Silenius’ abilities to Napalm, some magazines and friends
When and why did you settle for Napalm Records then… I mean, they weren’t really the most matured / established company at the time, so what made you sign with them? Haven’t there been any other (maybe even more attractive) offers as well?
Yep, when we signed to NAPALM it wasn’t more than a bigger mailorder with some fucked up bands, but we knew Max, we trusted in his support and Napalm was an Austrian label which made it all a lot easier, so we decided to sign there. I can’t remember exactly but I guess Osmose and Full Moon Productions had been interested in ABIGOR too.
And once again everything happened really fast for you then – the debut CD "Verwüstung / Invoke The Dark Age" got recorded right away (in June of 1994) and the follow-up MCD "Orkblut – The Retaliation" in November… Why did you continue to rush things so much?
We still worked the same way and a main part of "Verwüstung" was existing material, so when we recorded "Verwüstung", 80% of "Orkblut" had already been finshed.
Did those releases fullfill your expectations? I mean, did Napalm Records prove to be a good choice at that time already? How were the reactions on those releases from fans and underground media?
The reactions on "Verwüstung" and "Orkblut" were great, the main problem was that Napalm wasn’t that big at this time, but we had our CD’s and the Black Metal genre was overwhelmed by this more or less "different" style of ABIGOR, different to all the northern sounding shit that has been released at this time.
There’s two versions of "Verwüstung…" – one has a black and white cover and the other a color cover… Could you tell us more about that and the reasons for it?
The black / white version was limited to 5000 copies, limited because we thought it looks good, but the press factory fucked it up, so it all looks very faded and grey, so we decided to do a colour version too, that’s the story behind it.
"Orkblut – The Retaliation" came up with a lyrical concept, right? Would you mind telling us about it in a few words?
Thomas was main responsible for the lyrical concept of "Orkblut". We had an idea, a vision of the concept – of a warrior epos, from the rise to the death of a pagan warrior that fights with fire and sword for his ancient believes – Thomas tried to write it down while I tried to realise it musical wise, at least we all combined it and it worked out well
When it came to your song (title)s, you seemed to have a soft spot for the Latin language right from the start… What was so fascinating for you about that and at which point of time (and why) did you decide to use the German language as well?
There aren’t any special reasons for it at all, we just used Latin, German and English as we wanted it, without any "mysterious" reasons behind it
We already mentioned the Napalm compilation "With Us Or Against Us Vol.1" earlier on… What was the intention of that album and why did you re-record an old demo track for it?
Napalm decided to do that compilation with only exclusive tracks of their bands, so we overworked and re-recorded ‘Shadowlord’ for it. Even a main part of the songs for "Nachthymnen" were finished they wanted an exclusive song at this time
In 1995 you once again were quite busy writing and recording: in May you entered the studio for your next album "Nachthymnen (From The Twilight Kingdom)" and in November the first chapter of "Opus IV" got recorded… To me "Nachthymnen…" always was the ultimate ABIGOR release as it sounded a lot more professional in every aspect and also more symphonic than your previous stuff, yet maintaining the raw Black Metal style. Would you agree that this album was kinda like the band’s "breakthrough"? Did your influences change at the time?
Hard to say, "Nachthymnen" is for sure a decent album, but not my favourite ABIGOR release at all… Guess it was our breakthrough, even today 90% refer to "Nachthymnen" what I am really pissed about! In 1995 this album showed ABIGOR’s capacity and ability of creating very symphonic and even hard Black-Metal, but why the hell should we try to compose a 2nd part?!
Why did you actually split the recordings of "Opus IV"? Was it meant to have a different overall musical approach as it comprises of two separate chapters ("Horns Lurk Beyond The Stars" and "Blut Aus Aeonen")?
As we recorded "Nachthymnen", "Horns Lurk…" was already finished, and compared to "Nachthymnen" very strange and extreme, so we started the work on new songs to check how it’ll all develop. After a while we had the 4 songs of "Horns Lurk…" and the 4 songs which we used for "Blut Aus Aeonen" which were also quite different, so we thought about 2 MCD’s but Napalm didn’t agree, so "Opus IV" was born – the unity of 2 concepts.
"Opus IV" was finally released in July 1996 and to quote your own bio, you consider that "a very aggressive, technical and strange album…" Tell us a bit more about this relrease and the original purpose it it?
As said, "Opus IV" was a result of a fast change and development of ABIGOR in a very short period of time, therefore the difference to all previous releases and the way that showed a "new" direction.
Next up was the mini CD "Apokalypse", which you rawly recorded in just two days, in January of 1997… This release seemed to me like your counter reaction to all the wimpy keyboard loaden / cheesy packaged "Black Metal" stuff that was flooding the scene at the time… Was that the main reason of it, to show the world that ABIGOR by no means wants to be associated with such a "scene"?
Not really, we simply felt the need to create something more straight, that was the only reason for "Apokalpyse" at this time.
All of your releases were recorded at Studio Hörnix – so I suppose that you were really confident with the sound you were getting there, weren’t you? Or was it simply a question of laziness and / or money that you never considered changing the studio?
Guess a bit of everything… I was satisfied with the sound, even if we had some problems with "Supreme Immortal Art", "Channeling" was fucked up too, and at least "Satanized", the rough mix was really awesome, powerful and very heavy sounding, but during the final mastering they completely fucked it up, I can’t understand how such shit can happen, anyways, beside that I was really satisfied with the studio and its atmosphere. If I would have continued with ABIGOR the next album would have been recorded in a different studio, but I guess we’ll record the new HELLBOUND stuff at Hörnix
The next release was the "Supreme Immortal Art" album… Any memories / comments about that album? How important was that release for you as a band?
"Supreme Immortal Art" was our most technical and symphonic album, but during the first mix something happened, so the drums got down and the synths came up, exactly what we not wanted! The problem was that we had to mix the first 24 tracks down on 2 tracks and then we added the additional synths and samples, so it was a quite different situation to handle. Besides that Thomas got more and more addicted to drugs so I had to finish all by myself because he was arrested at this time.
At the end of September 1998 the limited 7" (500 copies) "Structures Of Immortality" got released, which featured the tracks ‘The Spirit Of Venus’ and ‘Magic Glass Monument’. What was the reason to come up with such an exclusive release and how did fans react on it?
Listen to the 7", the drums are clear, the guitars very powerful, imagine some lower synths and samples and the vocals, "Supreme Immortal Art" could have been an amazing release instead of that faded shit, so that was the main reason for releasing that 7"… If I remember right, it was already sold out at its release date, so guess the reactions were good. You might wonder how I speak about ABIGOR’s releases nowadays… of course, at the date you hold it in your hands you’re always satisfied with your work, but during the next months, years you recognize the shit you’ve recorded and released, so I am still proud for our releases, but there’re things that could have been done better!
About a month later the demo compilation "Origo Regium 1993-1994" saw the light of day – once again in strictly limited quantities (this time 1500 copies)… The reason for a release like this is pretty obvious – bands that are around a little bit longer constantly get requests for their old demo material… But this release only featured a few selected songs from your first 4 demos, so did it really help to stop those requests? Why didn’t you put all of the demo songs on there?
It helped, even still a few fans want the original demos copied. For "Origo Regium" we chose only a few songs, those we liked the most, on the other hand, it was a decision of quality because some songs were really of too band quality to be featured on that CD.
In March 1999 you recorded your next full length album "Channeling The Quintessence Of Satan", which features new vocalist Thurisaz for the first time. What was the problem with Silenius that you split-up with him after so many years?
During the recording session Silenius decided not to sing anymore because of "Channeling’s" complexity and being most untypical for ABIGOR at this time, so he simply took his stuff and left the studio and the band. We simply asked Thurisaz which was a close friend of us and we knew his work in AMESTIGON, so he joined ABIGOR quite soon after Silenius’ depature.
On May 8, 1999 you recorded the SLAYER cover ‘Crionics’, which was supposed to appear on a tribute album by Dwell Records. How did that come about? I mean ABIGOR is not really a band with a lot of obvious SLAYER influences…
We got a request of Dwell Records if we’d like to join that compilation, and because I am a huge fan of SLAYER I just agreed that ABIGOR will record a song for it.
You were additionally asked to contribute to a KREATOR tribute album and recorded ‘Terrible Certainty’ for that… But as Dwell Records ceased to exist at some point, I was wondering if those two albums ever got released?
I got some free copies of the SLAYER compilation, so it seems to be released, but I guess that of KREATOR hasn’t been released anymore
I’m just asking that, because I never really noticed them in any mailorder lists or something and you furthermore used both covers for your own "In Memory" mini CD, which came out in August 2000… Who actually came up with the idea for this mini CD and do you think its release was necessary? Or was it simply to fulfil your contractual obligations with Napalm Records?
The problem was that we got a lot of requests concerning the cover versions, some more unreleased material and shit like that. The SLAYER compilation was only released in the USA and available just through a few mailorders in Europe, so I thought "In Memory…" would be a good choice to release the cover-version, ‘Shadowlord’ once again – because the first Napalm compilation was not really spread, and some rare ABIGOR stuff. So from my point of view it was necessary!
In April 2000 you re-signed your deal with Napalm, so I suppose you were very satisfied with the work they had done for you over the years… But did you ever get any offers from other companies throughout the years that you maybe considered interesting as well, in any way?
Before I signed that new deal I checked out different labels and offers, but finally the deal of Napalm seemed to be the most fair so once again I signed there for 3 more albums once again. There were different labels that would have been interested, but Napalm simply gave us the most freedom concerning our releases, the budget, the layout, simply all we needed as individual band.
In late May 2000 you parted ways with longtime (former) member Thomas (T.T.)… Would you mind telling us the reasons for this and how you got Moritz Neuner to replace him? Moritz had already been playing with several bands before ABIGOR, hadn’t he?
The problem was that Thomas became addicted to drugs back in 1998, he felt like a decayed leave. He lost all he once believed in, you couldn’t trust him anymore, all he told were lies, he betrayed us and never recognized what’s going on with him, so it was the one and only solution to kick him from ABIGOR. Moritz was my first choice, even if he doesn’t share my opinion and point of view concerning Black Metal, Satan, or whatever, he’s a professional musician and plays very well, so in my opinion he was the best replacement for Thomas. Yep, that was the main problem, "feat. Moritz Neuner (know from A-Z all bands from Austria!)" that sucked.
From late October to November 2000 you recorded "Satanized (A Journey Through Cosmic Infinity)", which ended up becoming ABIGOR’s farewell release… Tell us a bit more about that one and how you judge that in comparison to the releases you did previously? Was the original ABIGOR feeling still present during the recordings, with yourself as the only remaining founding member?
It was, but as I said, the mastering was fucked off, then some bad reviews, because of the sound also Napalm didn’t support, nor promote "Satanized" that well, so shit here and there
What is this "Visualise – Fortress – Hell" slogan all about, which got printed on the CD itself?
Just some kind of personal message that people should simply realize that their mind, their soul is the force of might that bear power to crush or create everything, all based on an astral level. I can’t describe it in a suitable way
After that I lost pretty much track with you guys, up till the day when the statement about the band’s split-up got published. So, what happened in the last period of the band that (maybe) resulted in the split?
During the last 1 ½ years Thurisaz decided to leave ABIGOR, he laid down all his musical activities… So I had to find another vocalist again, which I finally found with Stefan from GRAVEWORM. At least I tried to come up with some new members, also we discussed about a complete re-union, but it all failed, and at least Napalm didn’t want to pay the studio I planned for the recordings of "The Dead White Moonlight" songs, so simply too much shit happened within the last 6 months that just fixed my decision. There was no special or definitive reason for the split, simply so much problems throughout the last time I never expected, problems I am not willed to think about and discuss about as "artist", you know, I’d like to compose, record and release albums, and not to discuss about each cent I need for the layout and the production and the album, also which members could be accepted by our fans, and so on. So it was the best solution for me, and I’ll of course continue my musical work and use the 9 finished new tracks for a "new" band, so it’s more a new beginning then the absolute end.
As far as I know ABIGOR never played a single live show throughout your entire career… Do you regret that in any way? Why didn’t you do that? I suppose you had enough offers, hadn’t you?
We planned one exclusive gig in summer 2002, at the Skeleton Bash Festival in Austria, but we had to chancel it because of an accident… Personally, I don’t regret it, in no way, even we had good offers, I never really felt the need to play live, I hate the work, or better said I see it as a waste of time and energy to work with session-members, to rehearse x-times, that’s not my coup of tea at all
You are / were also involved in bands / projects outside of ABIGOR, like HELLBOUND (who put out the "Austrian Black Metal" split-CD with AMESTIGON in 2002), HEIDENREICH (releases: "A Death Gate Cycle", "Trance Of An Unholy Union"), GRABESMOND (releases: "Mordenheim" and "Xenoglossie") and furthermore contributed guitar-lines to the AMESTIGON MCD "Höllentanz" as a session musician… Did any of these outside activities give you a similar satisfaction as ABIGOR? What do you plan on doing in the near future, now that ABIGOR is history?
All bands I am or was involved in gave me some kind of satisfaction of course, even ABIGOR was the band I was most dedicated to. As I said, the material for a new album was more or less finished, so I’ll overwork that, change it a bit and use it for something new, so it’ll of course be similar to ABIGOR but the advantage is, that I am not bounded to any kind of "scene" and style anymore, so I can create a very broad spectrum of extreme Metal with a lot of different and strange influences. Besides that I’ll continue my work in HELLBOUND and maybe I’ll start some new projects, we’ll see what the future holds for me.
Anything else you’d like to add? Any closing comments?
Thanx for your support! A last hail do our die-hard fans that supported ABIGOR from 1993-2003. The ABIGOR website is still online and updated from time to time to inform you about the new activities of the members – www.infernalhorde.com/abigor. The new HELLBOUND site is online too – www.hellbound.at
A new, amazing album is on its way to your head. I promise you, this is something very original and special, and will definitely raise some stir in the extreme Metal scene. TT answered questions with dedication, and the result is one of the absolutely best interviews I’ve ever done!
There’s been some time since ABIGOR’s former full-length release was spawned upon us. And in my opinion this time has done the band good, since it was bordering on the path of repetition if one shall judge a couple of releases. At the same time, in preparation for this ‘view, I must admit that a couple of releases were better than I remembered. Instead of going on and on about each release, could you rather travel a bit back in time and tell us what led you to your break (if we can use such a word)?
“First of all, I don´t think we have walked anywhere near the border of repetition with the music – and our last album, “Channelling The Quintessence Of Satan" (I quit after this, PK did “Satanized”), is in my eyes one of our best works, music and concept-wise. Still the sound and vocals didn´t live up to the compositions, the latter not in the case that they weren´t good, but ABIGOR always needed to be fronted by a highly individual and expressive voice, such as Silenius in the 90s and now even more with AR. This album (“Channelling The Quintessence Of Satan") will surface in a different form one day or another… But you are totally right bringing in the word repetition when it comes to other things, and this, in a retrospective view, has surely been the most important reason for my retreat – and if I dare to guess also PK´s reason to care for other projects in 2003… everything became routine. Same way of doing music / rehearsing, same label, same studio – a path to stagnation, because with our label (Napalm), studio (Hörnix) and workflow (how we composed / rehearsed) progress wasn’t possible in the long run for various reasons. And also the “scene”, a once mighty movement, shallowed at the turn of the millennium and had nothing to offer so one could be an enthusiastic contributor. Actually this was just the calm before the storm, a new movement that represented a new seriousness was in the making, with the spearhead being End All Life / Norma Evangelium Diaboli but also Northern Heritage, Ajna and some individuals with a vision.”
ABIGOR got in touch with End All Life. And C. signed the band for the upcoming “Fractal Possession”. However, and before we dive into the album, there are a couple of other elements that need to be questioned. Like, since you’ve been a part of the Black Metal scene from the first half of the 90s, what do you think of the development of the scene? And you can safely highlight NoEvDia as a label here, because it has turned into my personal favourite
“What do you mean with “first half of the 90s”? (I meant the band ABIGOR – Roy) I had the “At War With Satan” cover (the gatefold with the burning inverted cross inside) taped to my children’s room wall, so to say I have been there since the very beginning is an understatement! Development of the scene? 50% of my motivation to participate in public Black Metal (and what else is it? We’re not recording rehearsal demos. Releasing records and giving interviews has nothing to do with living a certain way and / or creating art, it is the decision to interact, hence being a part of the scene) is the urge to do so with ABIGOR, and 50% is exactly this development of the scene in the last couple of years, or better, exactly since I left (in 1999 / 2000). I kept my head down and studied audio engineering, built a studio, listened to other music like obscure guitar based stuff, electronic, Neue Musik / avantgarde etc, and as I realized what happened in the meantime it was a refreshing shock! You ask me about End All Life / Norma Evangelium Diaboli? I am the biggest devotee you can think of, the history and label profile is unchallanged, and just think of the latest releases as the most relevant creations this music has to offer: Deathspell Omega, Katharsis, Antaeus, Blacklodge, Diapsiquir, Mütiilation, Funeral Mist, should I go on with the catalogue? I discovered their records and as I had two or max. three I felt something special, magic, more than a logo on the back of the cover. I immediately ordered everything I could get without listening as I was convinced something released on these labels (EAL / NED) must have a certain quality. The labels and the force behind it shaped not only “Fractal Possession” to a certain extent, but I am convinced about also the scene as a whole when I look at various records these days, how they are presented etc. I am really enthusiastic how things are recently, there are new labels that seem to have something else in mind than making business: Flamme Noire, Kyrck, Black Hate, Todeskult and many more. I think the development has been essential, we all grew up, and you shouldn’t forget Black Metal as we know it was shaped by teenagers. With 30+ and as individuals who create Satanic art, there is no more room for trolls and dragons, sheetmetal swords, airbrush covers and what not. Satanic art must disturb and irritate people and not please them with nice riffs and empty phrases. And I am glad that there is an army of new people that have the same vision. I have the deepest respect to those individuals!”
Do you in any way think that by using Black Metal as a means to release souls from their daily trivialities, you will be able to reach such an aim? Is Black Metal an aim in itself or is it an aim for something outside you? After all, most of those who listen to Black Metal normally stay on the left hand path
“You can’t use Black Metal as a vehicle “to release souls from daily trivialities”, that’s the old romantic idea of coming home, taking the headphones on, close your eyes and escape to the fantasy world. A record should for sure ask for all your attention, the music, the lyrics, the layout, but I can’t see a strict line between every day life and Black Metal – Black Metal should primarily be art and as such the manifestation of something spiritual. It can be a religious act, expression, self realization, an attack on something etc. It must not be a fairytale, or Heavy Metal with screaming voices and a roleplay with some nice symbols on top. I even would say that simple nihilism is also an offence to such inspired lyrical works like “Salvation” or “Si Monumentum Requires, Circumspice”… Pure blasphemy is not enough for an artform with a more than 15 years old history… In this regard, yes, Black Metal could be a push to people but I am convinced that individuals that choose the left hand path do so because they are born this way, not because of Black Metal – what about all people before 1991, and even before Heavy Metal or Rock?”
Let us not leave the Black Metal theology yet, as I wonder why you really make ABIGOR breathe still. Peter said in 1996 “With our art we want to realize ourselves, and to spread words of Satan”. Why do you believe so much in the art of ABIGOR, that you continue to use it as your megaphone? If you really want to change anything, to make people think and to affect the society, why not enter the political world?
“As soon as you can think for yourself you have the desire to “change anything”, but that neither means you’re an artist nor a politician. You can easily play a few chords or put some colour on a canvas but again, that doesn’t mean you’re an artist. You can sit in the parliament and be on the country’s pay-roll but that doesn’t mean you want to change anything. And you can put an upside-down cross on your cover and spread anti-Christian phrases but that doesn’t mean you are anything worth in His eyes. There’s a thin line between all of this… What else legitimates you to play Black Metal than spreading the words of Satan, a path if walked with awareness leads to self realization anyway…”
I have got just one little excerpt of the lyrical patterns, and it is too little to judge by, or even to raise questions concerning ABIGOR’s biomechanical antichrist. Can you brief us on what we can expect this time? There are strange titles such as ‘3D Blasphemy’, ‘Cold Void Choir’ and ‘Liberty Rises A Diagonal Flame’
“As we joined forces again PK had written lyrics and music over the past years, while I started to write the music as we had the album in mind. That meant composing and recording from morning to evening, so this time not a single lyric comes from my side. And because of PK has written them over a longer period, and AR also contributed some, the topics differ from track to track. The summary that you now want from me will be printed on the sleeves / in the booklet, excerpts that represent the essence of each lyric. I mean, I could maybe brief you that ‘The Fire Syndrome’ and ‘Heaven Unveiled’ deal with ritualistic suicide and more, ‘Injection Satan’ summons the forces of hell, ‘Liberty Rises A Diagonal Flame’ crushes your moral concepts of good and evil and leaves you out in the cold etc. These are my thoughts if I have a random guess, but as I said I haven’t written them and by writing down a “table of contents” I wouldn’t do the lyrics justice. And again, we agree to be satanic Black Metal, to be the devil’s messengers, and sometimes we discuss a lyrical concept for an album, but still I could be wrong interpreting a lyric written by PK or AR. What I can reveal for the future is: we will explore the battle of demons and angels for the human soul, how this affects our earthly existence, on the next album. Very interesting, as those entities influence our life to a great extent.”
The way of playing has, judging from what I am able to differentiate, altered from a floating approach to today’s more direct and riffy structures. The tones are clearer and easier to distinguish, and somehow I think the music is parted into sections that are sewn (very well) together. Correct or not, how have you developed as musicians the last five to ten years?
“As musicians you develop, but real development is not of a technical nature. It happens when you expand your mind somehow and break boundaries, channel various influences of any kind. It won’t happen when you try to play like Malmsteen and listen to “Transylvanian Hunger” day in day out. I think the best thing that happened was that I turned my back on the Black Metal scene and went my way for a time. Both electronic music and Neue Musik had a big influence on me. Electronic because it teaches you to pay attention to every single sound, and to surpass usual recording and production techniques – this is not a cold, theoretic approach that means a straight path to realize your musical visions, without being trapped in the cage of the usual guitar / drums recording process. Neue Musik shows you how small your tonal and dynamic field is. And it reminded me that true Satanic art has to shock and disturb people, not only please them with nice melodies.”
I feel that you’re more focused and every turn and every beat has a purpose. I am not sure, since I haven’t been able to read the lyrics yet. And this concerns the writing process. Do you envision the music before you actually write and structure it? How do you incorporate your visions and inspirations with the result that you create songs you think I as a listener would like to relate to?
“It is an absolutely un-conceptual way of creating music. I can imagine for the next album, which will have a strict lyrical concept down to each song, that maybe asks for a continuous slow track, or one with a special instrumentation. Then you have to consider this when making the arrangements, but the actual riff-writing will still be a complete uncoupled process. This way you’re not forcing anything in a direction but can be totally inspired by the act of creating tones and just let it flow, a spiritual process which benefits from the fact that each of us makes music on his own, not in eye contact at some rehearsal. Still, which lyrics are combined with what track is an obvious thing later, and there’s no choice… just like, a lyric like ‘The Fire Syndrome’ asks for exactly the song it’s combined with, and also the other lyrics and songs on “Fractal Possession”, you can’t take one lyric and apply it to a different track. In the end, everything comes together naturally, with AR of course editing and re-writing parts of the lyrics to fit into the musical pattern.”
The production on “Fractal Possession” is very clear and it gives each instrument time to talk to the listener (me). In Black Metal I often think that the bass tend to drown in the wall of sound, and sometimes patience is not as rewarding as one might like to think. However, in the case of your new album there are some moments that make me freeze on my back. After 1.57 minutes into the ‘Lair Of Infinite Desperation’ there’s such a bassy section I really look forward to every single time. Perhaps a bit narrow, but is such a following part written for the musical purpose solely, or is there a whole to it?
“That the bass has a more important role in the sound of ABIGOR is one of those things I learned while engineering all kinds of music (although you could say we started to realize it had no sense to try to fill the bass spectrum with the guitars in the late 90s as well, I think PK introduced a bass on “Satanized” again, maybe we even had one on “Channelling The Quintessence Of Satan" – I listen to the studio outtakes of that album only which are guitars and drums in its original form). The bass has a frequency that simply can’t be done by the guitars and is essential to the sound as a whole. In the mid-90s (we included a bass in the early 90s) we thought that our guitars are way enough to fill the soundfield, but we were wrong. Now that we use this instrument again the difficult thing is that it shouldn’t bring in too many new melodylines but still be original. We write the tracks without the bass in mind, and therefore the guitars alone fill the whole spectrum of (dis-)harmonies. In ABIGOR we always have at least 2 equally strong guitarlines (with a few guitars coming in and out where they are needed, a total freedom that our concept of denying to play live implies, even more now with our new way of writing music than ever before), and therefore the bass must not support one guitar, otherwise the balance between the 2 is lost. So, it has to be a new melody but still one that subordinates to the guitars. Back to your question about certain melodies, “for musical purpose solely” is an understatement, what higher sense can something have in a track than for the musical purpose? Our music itself has a purpose and it’s not to write any nice track, it is extreme Satanic art, a storm of emotions and thoughts (that unconsciously manifested in the melodies and harmonies). Writing music (with everything that is included, arranging, etc) is a spiritual act and you don’t have to think about any purpose or concept all the time. Development, thoughts, concepts, everything conscious is the preliminary work of doing an album. The actual process of composing music should be one that is like a mad fever dream.”
When you write your music, is every new riff meant to be better than the former? Like, every new creation is a new nirvana, if you see what I mean… Let me challenge you on the same subject: how do you know when a riff is as good as it gets?
“First of all, of course you change the inner structure of a riff as long as it seems great to you. But of course if it’s THE riff that furiously jumps out of the boxes and throws you into the pits of hell, you only hear that when the track is done with full instrumentation. Like, sometimes there’re 2 chords, a simple thing but they have something to them you can’t describe. Later in the process there is a sick melody added and the drums and maybe anything else, 3 voice guitar harmony… so, there’s often a part that is not THE one riff, but how it progresses, this could lead anywhere. What is a good riff? For example, PK came to our old rehearsal room with the intro riff of ‘Kingdom Of Darkness’, a simple E chord with 2 chords following. After all these years (it’s the third song we’ve ever written as ABIGOR) I still get goosebumps when I hear the beginning of ‘Kingdom Of Darkness’. A good riff is one that transports feelings. The most complex or simple one, fast or slow, there’s no limit. But of course you think each and every riff is good, otherwise you wouldn’t even record a demo of it.”
Progressive Black Metal may not taste too well in the ears of a fan of this genre. But to me the music on “Fractal Possession” consists of numerous interesting fractions. Allow me to be funny and say that these various portions possess me in the sense that once I notice something, I really look forward to it the next spin. Are you afraid that you alienate the listener since your songs do not have the comfortable formula we know from (too) many bands? How would you like, if you could choose, the listener to ‘attack’ “Fractal Possession”?
“It’s a great description and absolutely correct that you noticed the music possesses you. And an essential question for sure: Progressive Black Metal… what is this? People that always ask for “Transylvanian Hunger” (I use this a second time here, an obvious example and a classic of course) style only these days are the same that listened to the blackened Rock’n’Roll of Venom in the early 90s and denied Burzum or Mayhem for being too whatever weird or so, and as for the harmonic structure some riffs on “De Mysteriis Dom Sathanas” or “Det Som Engang Var” are absolutely “progressive”. And people that think a copycat riff of “Transylvanian Hunger” with 4 track production is “ugly” or evil or rough, but actually the melodies are as nice and ear friendly as it can get, are musical cowards. Don’t get me wrong, I have absolutely no preferences, I listen to Moonblood as well as the most advanced well produced Black Metal, I enjoy both the same. But Black Metal MUST challenge the listener. It may take you into a calm state, let your imaginations flow on a melodic or ambient part, but it has to pierce your soul as well. I would go that far and say Katharsis’ masterpiece “World Without End” is progressive in the way that it presents a way of riffing that’s absolutely original (and in the same way the first Black Metal album that really reminded me on old German masters like early Destruction, not because of copied riffing but due to a certain, not definable feeling), or Mütiilation, the riffing sometimes reminds me of old Voivod and is it absolutely not common simple nice BM riffing, but yes, sometimes “progressive”. What I want to say is, give me classic Black Metal riffing (like “Transylvanian Hunger”) everytime, great, but if anyone thinks this is ultimately “evil” or ugly, then the person has no clue what he is talking about. There are riffs on “Fractal Possession” that will make people paranoid for sure. On the other hand, yes, there’re parts that are very melodic and “ear friendly” / harmonic, but we just have to include both. As I told you writing music is an intuitive and natural process, we don’t control how an inspiration is channelled and manifested in our riffs. This is one of the reasons why our music is spiritual and a step on the path to the Lord.”
Most normally I try to listen to music without trying to understand everything. Or perhaps I try to consciously come up with my own interpretation. However, in the case of ‘Injecting Satan’ I must ask you to please explain why the song fades after 2.51 minutes only to return with full force 7 seconds later? Because, if there’s no real meaning behind it except that you just want to fuck up my head, then this could’ve been better off
“It doesn’t fade, it’s a low pass filtersweep that cuts out the high frequencies. I think it’s perfect that it sinks down to the centre of the earth and returns with a crash and a devilish scream. So far the people that heard it experienced it the same way, but for sure if you try to fiend a meaning it won’t please you.”
Despite the progressive approach in this album, the music still floats very well. I’m impressed with the way loads of surprising turns in the songs feel most natural. In my personal favourite ‘Cold Void Choir’, the music is rapid around 2 minutes. Then after 2.27 it slows a bit down onto to turn completely after 2.32. However, nothing feels out of place. How many times did you have to rehearse this to make it feel natural? The main question though deals with totality. How to you write in order to make the music float? What’s your main focus when you try to make the music float?
“It is easy. When a riff feels out of place you just keep it for another part. You feel it immediately when something absolutely doesn’t fit together. On the other hand, after the first stage of composition is done (the writing of the basic riffs), you can still build a bridge with additional guitars. But again: it is an analysis and a guess, because when you sit there with headphones on and playing / recording guitar, you are not doing math, it is a different state of mind – no matter how earthbound the technical side of the process is, setting a loop on the computer, recording, editing… but as soon as the tones are flowing, you thoughts are decoupled in a way – otherwise you’re not writing music but do handcrafts. It’s hard to imagine, but really the most technical aspect can become magic…”
The vocals are many, though still perhaps only one vocalist. In the aforementioned ‘Cold Void Choir’ the (Mayhem’s) Atilla-feel is present after 3.33 minutes, hanging in there for the rest of the track. Now tell me, how did you end up with such a diverse vocal expression, having the former career in mind where the vocals are way more one-dimensional, at least in comparison
“I am totally convinced that the vocals are just perfect for ABIGOR, or better, the new incarnation of the demon. Attila is of course one of the most original Black Metal vocalists, but still I think the vocals of AR are more diverse, varied, evil (because he lives and breathes every single word he sings right in the moment of the recording until he spits blood, he has been quite obnoxious in the hours before and after the recording, hehehe), and also hits the notes perfectly in the tonal parts. And the articulation is unchallenged, he celebrates every syllable. And: his basic voice has no effect, no reverb / room, nothing, it’s absolutely effect free (of course with EQ, compression etc. but nothing that alters the voice). I have put some reverb on a few melodic parts, or added a delay on this word or another, but his actual voice throughout the tracks is pure. He did various performances on each song, we had about 3-5 vocal tracks per song. This gave us enough “material” to do all the worked out double vocals on some parts or stereo effects which are actually just vocals from another track (“track” – not another song, another version / take of the same song). But with all detail, edits, attention and clinical execution of the actual production, the album is basically very direct and “true”. No effect on the basic voice, no triggered drums, no reverb on the guitars, everything is very direct. This is the advantage of engineering experience, high quality studio gear and the unlimited studio time, you can work out the tiniest detail but still don’t have to prettify something. If the performance and recording is great, you can go from there. Silenius perfectly fitted to our old albums, he had a highly individual voice, the powerful screaming of “Verwüstung” is great, the variation and otherworldly performance of “Apokalypse”, he was a master on his territory. But now we reached a new era, and here the vocals of AR make an all important part of the “new” ABIGOR.”
You will in short time begin to receive reviews and diverse expressed response. What do you expect from the reviews this time, thinking that this new expression is far from the ABIGOR most of us have learnt to like?
“Of course, as every artist, I want the reviews to be enthusiastic or totally negative. I have no problem with a 1 out of 6 critic. The worst thing would be if one can’t find the access to the music and doesn’t know how to handle it, but because of the advanced technical aspect feels compelled to write a good critic. If someone doesn’t appreciate Satanic art without limits, then he should at least respect us for our artistic achievement, but for hell’s sake be honest enough and write that the music just leaves him speechless and untouched, not any “they can play their instruments and the songs are all demanding, but somehow blah blah blah”, he should write it’s musical scum to his ears."
How many times do you think the listener needs to really digest “Fractal Possession”? The reason this is being asked is due to the all the details in the music. The music (almost) never rests and it demands a lot from the inexperienced as well as the experienced listener.
"One thing: we DON’T judge ourselves to be progressive, technical or whatever, we play how we feel and how we can. We never, not a single time, did a single note to do something technical / progressive”, this is utterly disgusting! Our music flows out of our souls just as naturally as the simplest riff on “Panzerfaust” (not to overuse the “Transylvanian Hunger” example, hehehe). Of course it is demanding to play it, and often I sit here and struggle to get a too complicated riff clean on tape, but it is how we hear the music in our minds, we just transform what is inside us. Most of the time I hear a riff in my head before I play it, and when this is one that’s tricky to play, what the fuck should I do, water it down to please anybody, listener, critic, anyone? We have the techniques now to realize our musical visions, and we use it, everything else would be fake, would be pleasing a market, and betraying ourselves. And as a logical consequence to my words, our music is highly accessible anyway, every note is there for a reason, to transport an emotion, nothing is artificially constructed – and such music can only be accessible and hit one’s soul if similar feelings are there to be evoked.”
I’m afraid that the music demands a lot from the sound on stage, but in my opinion the music on “Fractal Possession” definitely deserves an audience due to the many great and cool parts in your music. I am certain few will be bored while watching and hearing you in a venue nearby. Inform us about what we can expect when we eventually get to listen to ABIGOR live on stage
“No ABIGOR live. First of all, we need to have 100% (not 99%) freedom when we compose our music. If we want 6 guitars and a backward drum, we just do it without a thought. So many times did I hear “but we can’t do this live then” from other bands recording in the studio, when I suggested some additional instrument. This is self – restriction. So, live would be possible if you come with minimum 10 musicians and a truck of technique… And the character of our music isn’t determined by the harmonies / melodies and lyrics / concept only, also the sound and execution is more important than ever before. The second reason is that only a very specific style of Black Metal works live. I have seen Antaeus live and they were like a storm, as they played the last track (one of their new album) I just stood there in the middle of a sonic hurricane. Or a different style, Kawir, it reminded me on a feeling between “Live In Leipzig” and “Scorn Defeat”. Very raw Black Metal. For everything else, and definitely the form of Black Metal that we present, I would like to see expensive stage design, sophisticated lighting, projections and what not. With people sitting and shut up (this is what another musician once proposed as well). Here we entered the third reason, the atmosphere that hardly lives up to the serious matter of the lyrics and the concept of Satanic art. Nothing against having fun and drinking a beer, but Black Metal is sacred, a Black Metal concert should be an act of worshipping the devil, from all participants – have you ever seen one that was such a pure act?”
When I saw Watain in Oslo with ca. 100 spectators, that was probably the closest! In the end, what is being described as “evil” is based on a Christian concept of morality, but we surpassed this concept for sure. Not all melodies on the new album is what I’d consider dark, which goes well hand in hand with the thought that without light there would be no darkness. Do you in some wicked way consider dark music such as Black Metal as a symptom of the ignorance in our Western societies and the way most people relate to easy-listening music like popular music from the MTV-top 20 and such? Do you perhaps think that in a balanced civilization there would be no need for Satan and his rebel songs?
“We have to divide Satanism and Black Metal here on this specific question. As for the music, I don’t know how the effects would be if we would lead an absolutely balanced life, one that completely represents the ideal of our individual imagination, self realization in pure form. A paradox surely (total freedom of the individual is not possible for many reasons – not only practical, but you assume that humans are striving for peace and harmony – do they really?). Also if you would be the dictator of whatever country, have an unlimited bank account, you are still influenced by the world surrounding you, except you live in isolation which influences you in a different way. Definitely, your social contacts, the society, every day life, your surrounding, simply the world you’re living in influences your art to a great extent. And this is not a bad thing for sure. Art must react on the current state of whatever field it is bound to play in (Black Metal must also react on Black Metal, not in an obvious way, but still). Still, it must not be reactionary art in the sense of the word of course. And to strip spiritual art down as a reaction to its surrounding is of course nonsense. So, an artist is shaped by “the world” a lot for sure, but to what extent and an assumption how utopia would influence this is a far too hypothetical thought to follow.”
But there’s one really important thing I as a non-believer in any Satan, God, Allah, Lucifer, Jesus, etc etc, wonder about, why do so many people choose to believe in something outside oneself? You use Satan yourself, probably as a metaphor, but who is your God eventually?
“Without any limits and metaphors, I believe in Satan being an entity as well as being the seminal substance (in a non-physical sense) present in every cell, everything in and surrounding us. This is where our affinity with themes describing aspects of the universe in older lyrics comes from – just imagine the infinite universe, a manifestation and a proof of the omnipresence of Satan (AR said, as he listened to the new mastered version of “Fractal Possession”, that even if the lyrics don’t include themes around the horns that lurk beyond the stars, still this aspect is present in the music alone. The music spins you right into the middle of nothingness, the centre of the universe, the blackest antipole – to the paradoxes of micro- and macrocosm… passing the stars and all possible worlds, you float somewhere in the void witnessing His presence. This is right in our music, at least in some parts, without the lyrics underlining it). I have no strict belief following any (single) written and published form of Satanism (at least not what you describe as average book about Satanism, to be found in the local esoteric shop), I belief that many conditions, historical situations, incarnations, manifestations, all different forms point to the one single revelation. So much for my own belief. AR has written some lyrics that break up the absolute duality of good and evil, although being unquestionably of a Satanic nature. At first I wasn’t sure if this integrates perfectly into the concept of ABIGOR, but it does. In the end, what is being described as “evil” is based on a Christian concept of morality, but we surpassed this concept for sure. Yet it is legitimate to use this conception of good and evil to position ourselves in the world of these traditional values and terms. But if one thinks and acts “evil” and by himself judges his deeds and thoughts as “evil”, it seems utterly wrong to me. What is called “evil” must seem good and right to you, to your own perception, otherwise you are just a product of Christian morality.”
Why should we listen to “Fractal Possession” in headphones?
“Because you will discover things that would be hidden to you otherwise. And it is a good way to focus on the album. Of course with good monitors you hear everything just as good, but with headphones you cut your connection to the outside world even more. When I listen to Black Metal, I take the cover, insertsheet, whatever, and even if the lyrics aren’t printed I look at the artwork right through the last note of the album. This is a mostly forgotten way of listening to music, but it is a highly rewarding one. Great art deserves our full attention, the experience is a really different one if you focus all your senses on it. This is of course just as valid for our multi-layered music as well as primitive, raw, simple art, no matter how it is presented.”
Much of “Fractal Possession” is fast forward in the speed of light. Do you think that this yin to the slower yang is a necessity to make extreme music interesting? The reason I ask is that I sense your thoughtfulness behind the creativity of this excellent album is ever-present, and that few or no changes are done without purpose. Let me give an example. In ‘Vaporized Tears’ the first three minutes are pretty fast, but the great turn after 3.12 minutes feels more brutal in all its melodic approach compared to the fast parts that are basically fast rather than anything else. The melody, which sticks to my mind, is way more rememberable compared to if the track had been midpaced all the time… Let me also add that the development of the track is really great!
“With my words about the spiritual, intuitive process of creating those tones in mind, of course not a single note or beat is done without purpose in the end. Today’s technology gives us possibilities i.e. in the field of post-production, you can always go back and change a few things, re-arrange, whatever. For instance there has been a first version mastering and we did another one, a month after the mixdown was completed, still we changed some minor things, just in ‘Vapourized Tears’ that you speak of now (you will maybe notice the added reverse sound at the beginning, the additional guitars in one part and the missing repetition of a whole part in the new version). Concerning our “thoughtfullness”: the riffs alone determine the drumming (and it’s the drum rhythm that makes something fast or slow, even if it’s the same beats per minute). We write guitar only demos first, and the drums are added later. And while we do work on the arrangement, the editing and minor effects, treat it in every possible way you could think of, still it’s the riff that determines everything. This is the way we do our albums, step by step, and the first step is the riff, the riffs one after another. It’s the basic cell that determines everything that comes in later, every reverse effect, every drum beat, everything is actually in the riff as I see it. In example PK gives me a riff, and I add 5 guitars and effects and a lightningfast beat and edits to it, and still, the order of how the single notes are put together and how they are played, read: the (his) riff, is the DNA of the most advanced symphony I could construct. So, you could spin this thought and say no matter how many layers of sound, how many tracks of additional guitars and drums and whatnot is added, it’s all in the few notes that form the basic riff. And one more thing: I have absolutely no respect for people that add one shitty melody over another, some “symphonic” Black Metal that consists of 50 tracks of cheesy layers found in Gothic keyboard music. Every layer ultimately must have a purpose and not fill in what’s missing. And to your very first question (in this paragraph of question, hehehe): no, I don’t think songs or parts of an album have to contrast with each other. A fast album without a pause, or a throughout slow one can be as interesting as one that includes various tempi and moods. Maybe it is harder, it surely is, to do something interesting just in one style (because of human physics: the ear and section of the brain that’s responsible for hearing perceives things relative to something. When a sound is loud all the way, there’s a natural mechanism that lowers your perception. That’s why you perceive a dynamic record in the long run as louder than one that is on the limit all the time. Same with something fast, you won’t get a rush of aggression of a fast beat after 5 fast songs if you don’t hear a slower beat, only then you can experience a furious outrage again). We don’t do our tempi on a conscious level, it just happens. And again, my personal taste is that a fast, a slow or a varied album all can be great.”
Finally, and I think it’s time for the regular closer. Do you think that ABIGOR in cooperation with End All Life will release one of the top-5 albums in 2007? Why should people invest money and time in “Fractal Possession”? And if you have some ending words, please write them in another interview
“Last question, so these are my ending words anyway, otherwise I couldn’t answer this question at all, hehehe… but good that you block the usual rockstar “thanx to our fans, thanx for buying our album, see you on tour” bullshit… Ok, why should people invest money in “Fractal Possession” – if we wouldn’t believe it to be something precious also for someone else than ourselves, we would have kept in on our computer, not spreading it as good as possible. So I am totally convinced this is one of the albums that shape 2007, and it is here to stay, a manifest of mature, unrestricted and absolute, hence Satanic, art.”