Given its lush and beautiful landscape, it’s a bit surprising that Austria is a haven for some of the darker, more occult and satanic black metal on the planet. (Most likely, being a stomping ground for the World Wars left a sheen of blood in the subsoil, and that darkness remains.) And like their sister band, Abigor, Amestigon is a shining example of why Austria’s black metal should be taken with the utmost seriousness. On their new full-length, Thier, Amestigon arises from hibernation to deliver fifty-six enchanting minutes of doom-influenced black metal.
Even though Amestigon was created and led by former core members of Abigor, (founders Thurisaz and Tharen) don’t expect a repeat of, or any connection to, Abigor’s 2014 release Leytmotif Luzifer (The 7 Temptations of Man). Amestigon is doing something very different for Thier. Furthermore, Thurisaz has long since left the band to focus on Abigor leaving Tharen to handle the majority of the duties for Amestigon.
The vocals are versatile—sometimes subdued, sometimes at the forefront and sometimes appearing as a choir, most prominently on “358.” The vocals are consistently appropriately matched to the flow and feeling of each song. They’re never overbearing, and never seek to change the song—only to enhance it. The same can be said for all instrumentation on the album. Thier sounds like a band in its groove, a group that is relaxed, self-aware and content with exactly who they are and what they are willing to produce musically.
With lyrical themes based heavily in the occult, satanism and psychedelic, pharmacologically-induced altered states, Thier provides music to match such a dark and depraved journey. It’s not that there aren’t blast beats throughout, but rather that the brand of black metal here feels effortless—as if it was written in one sitting. That effortlessness makes listening to the album equally effortless to listen to and enjoy—even the ambient thrashings of the title track.
There is no doubt that 2015’s been a less-than-mind-blowing year as far as black metal goes. But people looking for something refreshing in that sea will certainly be able to point to Thier as a highlight of the year to date. The album is complete; from the soft, crescendo-like opening of “Demiurg,” it just oozes in quality. Don’t be deterred by the length of these four tracks, for they are not long out of sheer laziness. Rather, they’re four perfectly crafted passages that are sure to win over your dark heart. Do not fear the beast. And, as always, remember to HAIL SATAN!