Abigor interview from Qvadrivivm #1 (1999)

Interview: Arkadin

ABIGOR - Grand duke of Hell. He is shown in the form of a handsome knight, bearing lance or sceptre. He is a demon of the superior order, and responds readily to questions concerning war. He can foretell the future, and instructs the leaders on how to make themselves respected by the soldiers. Sixty of the infernal legions are at his command.

First of all, can you please fill in some of the details of Silenius' sudden departure from the band? I've heard of some dissention plaguing the studio recording sessions for some time, but what happened precisely that made him leave?

P.K.: -Well, we already were in the studio, it was the date for his vocal lines... He went into the recording room, remained there a few minutes then he came up and just said, 'No, it's senseless, I won't sing anymore'. Of course, we asked him twice, but in he wasn't able to find suitable vocal lines at all, because he never really thought of it, and the other reason was that he can't identify himself with ABIGOR nor Black-Metal anymore. Firstly because ABIGOR's Black-Metal grows into a more and more complex direction and that's not how he defines Black-Metal, and the other point was that he doesn't listen to Black-Metal for more then two years. So what's left to say, it was simply the one and only, as well the best solution for both sides that Silenius leave the band. 

I've always found appealing the use of photographs of cosmic masses in the layout of Abigor releases, as, for instance, the pictures of nebulae found in Opus IV and Supreme Immortal Art. Is this fascination purely for aesthetic reasons, or is there some genuine interest in cosmology, astronomy and so on?

-Mainly because of our personal interest in cosmology and astronomy, but also because of aesthetic reasons, because such pictures turns finally out very fascinating. Anyway, cosmology represents a very familiar but also a very unknown, yet terrible 'sphere of existence', as well it all influences us subconsciously, or those who know consciously, even those who think to be a part of reality by all it means. Those ignore it's influence and that's the problem. They block their way of spiritual awakening. But, to be honest, who cares?! I mean, those (we) who are interested in know how to use it's influence ('constellations') to get the achieved aim, and the rest can exist in the boxes of weak-minded remnants, like for the past 2000 years, as christianity infected the heart of Europe.

What is your opinion of astrology, alchemy and other "alternative sciences" that were especially popular during the middle ages, some of which are extant to this day? Again, do you see these studies as matters of aesthetic interest, or do you actually believe in some of them? Your view of supernaturalism in general?

-The middle ages are still very interesting but not concerning 'alternative sciences', because in my opinion the middle ages were a degeneration of knowledge and wisdom people already knew for thousand of years. But because of it's moral and laws it was not possible that scientists extend their wisdom on all matters. Anyhow, some of these paranormal or supernatural phenomena and experiences are for sure not more then lies, but I believe in several of these studies, because they're based on mathematics and physical (natural) laws, and one can't it explain it in a better way then 'paranormal'.

Do you feel that the issue of the Devil vs. God has already been plagiarized and used ad nauseam in this particular style of music? I understand it's a fundamental premise of much of black metal, but somehow many bands refuse to incorporate a fresh new slant into it, and only rarely do certain bands break from the very simplistic eschatological dichotomy of the inevitabilities of Hell and Heaven. Do you feel that Abigor is perpetuating this stereotype in some way?

-This dualism as I'd like to call it is a part of our genetic and moral values, a part of today's society, that's the only problem. Dualism states that there's a battle between good (in our case heaven) and evil (hell), but it's a fact that never really existed, in my opinion. It's all a kind of equilibrium; there exist energies, forces, God, Satan, Fenris or however you might call them, and which mythology you prefer. But you can use and guide these energies and the direction you like and how you use them for and with your work (magic) and these forms of force guide you as well. It's hard to describe and I am really tired of explaining it, but I agree that this stereotype of God vs. Satan has become a main part of the music, and in some ways it's for sure great that there's an opposite - a few of thinking individuals vs. those who live through and for the norm. Even I really doubt that too much of all those 'evil Black-Metallers ever understood anything they're fighting for. Anyway, concerning ABIGOR, it's a Black-Metal band therefore we support all extreme and violent values but the difference is that we all have very different beliefs and philosophies that we unleash through ABIGOR's art, no matter if it's accepted or it can be seen as battle of God vs. Satan, it became very personal through the years.

Now focusing on the music of the band, the latest release, Channeling the Quintessence of Satan can be easily considered as the most brutal output of the band yet. Are you satisfied with the outcome? And what do you have to say of critics that are arguing that Abigor is losing focus and originality? I personally don't feel this is true, but just for the sake of curiosity…?

-We're very satisfied with Channeling..., but we don't see it as the most brutal release yet, even it's really a compliment, because it's Black-Metal so what the hell do people expect?! The only thing that's left to say for those ignorants that proclaim that ABIGOR lost originality is just a nice 'fuck off', because we simply follow our own way, and to be not a part of the mass-consumer Black-Metal doesn't mean that one loses originality!

I understand you've chosen not to wear the traditional makeup in the future. Was there any particular and conscious reason for this change? What does wearing the corpse paint essentially mean to you? Some people have obvious difficulty grasping the concept of the image associated with black metal.

-I guess you got that in a wrong way, because we'll still wear corpse paint as well, but we never set us any real directions. Anyway, if we don't wear corpse paint it doesn't mean that we don't support Black-Metal and it's mental values anymore - that's bullshit! Finally it depends on our mental attitudes and not on the outlook nor image.

A more banal question for you: is there any decision on a live show being taken into consideration? There is an excellent cathedral located several minutes from where I live that would probably be ideal for a live Abigor performance, especially towards nighttime as the view of the sky is excellent from the vantage point. You are most definitely invited, even if I am the only one there to watch!

-We haven't played live yet, and I really doubt that we ever will. Even we got a lot of very good offers within the last year, but it's a problem of realization, spare time and money.

How do you feel about Ulver's new direction and the new wave of experimental, techno-black metal that is surfacing in the underground? Is this a desecration of a sacred artform, or is it something to be accepted with open arms?

-It's a refreshing wind in today's flood of worthless releases in my opinion, and I'm not only focused on Black-Metal so I really don't care if it's a desecration of any 'set' values concerning Black-Metal or how this and that has to sound! It depends on every band and every artist how he/she feels the need or how the bands likes to compose and realize new material and not how the masses would like to hear it! That's a fact, but because too many bands sold their souls to the major labels it's caused a sell out of the entire musical genre. People simply forget that, and 90% of the bands have no real identity anymore in my opinion!

What's in store for the future? Tell us about this 7" that is due to be released sometime soon.

-This second 7" is in planning but I won't make any conclusions on what the content will be. Maybe some two rare, unreleased songs, but it'll be earliest released in mid 2000, keep it in your mind. Beside that nothing new will happen, we'll do a info/interview break from late October on to concentrate fully on the work for a new album that'll be released in late 2000. So that's it, watch out for an upcoming album, it'll be the ultimate experience.

Last words for our readers? Thank you for the interview and fulfilling one of the greatest desires of a journalist to conduct an interview with one of his favorite bands!

-Thanx for your support and interest in ABIGOR, and check out Channeling The Quintessence Of Satan! We bear the milleniums pain!

There you have it; a small but delectable discussion with still-to-this-day one of the best black metal bands on earth. My only gripe is that the interview was too short. But this is something that only I am to be layed blame for. In the future, our discussions will be longer, and much more interesting issues will be resolved, as for instance, the unsettling rumors of plagiarized lyrics and the source of the interesting sound clip from Kingdom of Darkness (Yes, I AM an admirer of the works of Ingmar Bergman!). I promise this to you, my heathen brothers… in the meantime, continue the war. And keep in mind the Scottish proverb: "The devil's boots don't creak..."

A review of Channelling the Quintessence of Satan from the same issue:

ABIGOR: Channeling The Quintessence Of Satan (Napalm 1999)
If you've been following Abigor through the length of their prolific careers, you will know to expect nothing short of excellence. With each Abigor album I've bought in the past, there would be a moment of hesitation before pressing the Play button… indeed, a moment of fear! There is no exception with "Channeling The Quintessence of Satan". Abigor fans will be delighted to hear that no compromises were made; the sound is still very much Abigor. However, all of the majesty, all the grandiose keyboard and flute segments you can say goodbye to - the master Satan has whisked them away without so much as a second consideration. The only mercy given to you on "Channeling…" are the ambient interludes. The drumming is splendid as always, the guitars rapacious, but the vocals have degraded slightly. Silenius is out of the band and devoting most of his energy to Summoning. Thurisaz is the permanent (?) replacement, and a fairly good one, although, in my view, lacking the range of Silenius. I suppose it was only best that the change would happen now, as the music has become more Bathory-influenced as it is. For an Abigor release, this is fairly disappointing, but for a black metal record, it's another incredible addition.
(Yury Arkadin)

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