Two Decades In, Amestigon Deliver a Career Best

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Amestigon have been at it for a while–the Austrian black metal group entered its second decade this year–and while they may be far from a household name, it’s hardly for any fault of the music. Since 1995’s Mysterious Realms demo, releases like 1998’s Höllentanz EP have shown Amestigon to be capable of creating music just as dramatically affecting as any of the genre’s most vaunted titans.

With each subsequent release, the band has built further and further upon their sound, culminating in 2010’s monstrous Sun of All Suns. Taking into account the members’ other work in bands like Abigor, Summoning, Fall Time. and Pazuzu (among others) and the tremendous rate at which their music has developed between releases, Thier, the band’s second (!) album, had the potential to be so massive it would topple under its own weight, the music crushed under a toppling mountain of grand gestures and heavy-handedness.

Fortunately, the members of Amestigon carry with them enough discipline to dispel any such notions of doubt within the first few minutes of Thier’s opener “Demiurg.” None of the album’s four tracks are under the ten minute mark, but remarkably the strongest trait of its 57-minute running time is precision. It takes terrific ingenuity to craft compositions of such length without inundating the listener with filler, but this is exactly where Amestigon succeed so well.

Every piece of Thier is essential to the running of its course. For as expansive as the songs are, nary a superfluous minute is to be found throughout the album. Though each song contains dozens and dozens of riffs and sections, none are placed simply for gratuitousness’s sake. Musicality is never sacrificed for complexity. Every wash of chords and technical guitarwork is delivered with an indubitable tactile presence.

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Vague attempts to hide behind “shoegaze” or rawness have no place on Thier. Amestigon imbue every note with a courage of convictions rare in any music, and this quality gives the album its characteristic intense physicality. With this concrete trait comes a more sublime one, its metaphysical leanings. Thier is not heavy in a “brutal” sense. Of course its most base characteristics are heady riffs and powerful drumming, but the primary feeling it conveys is one of a pure emotional battle, the sound of unending struggle butting up against the indomitable will of the individual and ultimate triumph.

Thier’s emotional resonance is rare for the members of Amestigon. With their other, perhaps higher-profile groups like Abigor and Summoning, emphasis is put on primal rage and high fantasy of the Tolkien school, respectively. Though the sounds Thier offers are dark and forbidding in a manner that can seem cold or distant at times, the album’s real surprise is its warmth.

In spite of the grandiosity of each song and the album as a whole, the intimacy of the whole affair is its greatest strength, though perhaps its most delicate. Tired as the analogy may be, the album plays out like a roller coaster of intensity, building in strength before releasing a magnificent sigh of relief echoing out across canyons. The music is a vessel filled to the point of exuberant bursting, and every moment carries the spark of careful thought and spontaneous action.

Twenty years into their career, Amestigon have released what is sure to be their defining work, a transcendent musical communion deserving of any praise it receives. Hardly a low point is to be found throughout the album, with every segment coming together into one massive piece worth so much more than any one part. Any expectations for what Amestigon would deliver or were even capable of delivering two decades after Mysterious Realms have appropriately been shattered. Thier is essential listening.

Amestigon’s Thier is out May 28th on W.T.C. Productions.

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  • Edward/Breegrodamus™
    • How is the job search coming buddy? Didn’t you have a interview recently?

      GL

      • Edward/Breegrodamus™

        Uh… it’s coming. I did have an interview last week. I was pretty straight up with the guy, he interviewed me for a different position than I applied for (based on my work experience in that field) but it was on call and I told him I was looking for a full time day position. He did check my references but he may go with someone who is more willing for “any” availability.

        I have an interview today for a job that I want except for I think the starting pay is dick, lol. I’ll talk with the woman who is going to interview me about the pay and what not. It’s full time days Monday through Friday so that’s the plus side.

        Applied for two jobs yesterday. Learned how to do bang up cover letters last Friday so I am hoping that improves my chances of getting interviews. I’ve been out of work about five or six weeks so I’m not totally desperate… yet.

        • Well I am glad some progressive it being made. Those seem like good stepping stones for sure! Monday through Friday would have to be a must though!

          GL

          • Edward/Breegrodamus™

            Thanks GL! I’ll let you know how this interview goes today. I’m putting on my shirt and tie at this very moment.

          • Nice. I look forward to hearing how it goes!

            GL

  • Dean the P.I. Staker

    Nice review! Such an underappreciated band. I enjoyed their Hollentanz EP from back in the day (’98, I think?), and look forward to picking this album up! World Terror Committee is a great label and they keep putting out killer shit!

  • Tyree
    • Edward/Breegrodamus™

      Polished? Lol

      • Buffer-y

        • Guacamole Jim

          There’s a vampire cleaning joke in here somewhere…

          • Dr. W.’s Tentacles

            Franpire?

          • nbm02ss

            Or a streaming online joke.

      • General. General Motors.

        GL

    • A Blue Whale’s Used Condom

      Industrial?

    • nbm02ss

      Mmmmm CTS-V. Do want.

  • Dr. W.’s Tentacles

    I am digging this Herr Molenaar.

  • That was a great song, CM.

    GL

  • Mother Shabubu III 12 BRICKS

    Let’s see…

    Cool album art – check
    Cool aesthetic/promo pic – check
    Awesome music – check

    Holy shit! The rarely achieved trinity!

  • Guacamole Jim

    “Though the sounds Thier offers are dark and forbidding in a manner that can seem cold or distant at times, the album’s real surprise is its warmth.” Spot on. I was reacting to this differently than I do most black metal, and I wasn’t sure why until I read this line. Perfect description.

  • A Blue Whale’s Used Condom

    I vaguely remember hearing something of their’s ages ago. Might have to give them another look-see.

  • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    amestigom- demiurge—(song in op)
    with both these vids—all 3 at once-full vol

    https://youtu.be/_6e5bNeg_ic

    https://youtu.be/_3LRLeuEWEM

  • For what its worth, we ate at Lou Malnati’s this weekend. Which, we referred to as Illuminati’s instead. Lol.

    GL

    http://www.loumalnatis.com/

    • A Blue Whale’s Used Condom

      Excellent pizza!

    • what were you up to in chi-town? and agreed, that prizza is the best!

      • We had a joint bachelor/ bachelorette party for my sister/future brother inlaw. Fun times!

  • C. Molenaar, thanks for bringing this.

    The music in the first track is very very good. I don’t dig too much black merol, but this song is kind of special because the vibe is very different, the composition is dynamic and it got some great melodies.

    I think you hit the nail with this: “The music is a vessel filled to the point of exuberant
    bursting, and every moment carries the spark of careful thought and
    spontaneous action”. I can really feel how they choose carefully the notes.

    You’re the bestest Molenaar ever!

  • killer write-up! love love LOVE that song, wish i could her the rest right now

  • Now that I know this exists, I can rejoice that I am one step closer to knowing everything else.

    Well-written review as always–although imagination points must be deducted for the use of “topple” and “toppling” in the same sentence.

    *returns to fapping to All Fours while reading Letters to Wendy’s*

  • CyberneticOrganism

    AUSTRIA >>>>>>>>>>