Abgott – Masters of Illusions

Rating: 4/5
Distributor/label: Helvete & Hate Records
Released: 2014
Buy Album [URL]: http://www.abgott.co.uk/merch

Band Website:
http://www.abgott.co.uk/
https://myspace.com/abgott
https://www.facebook.com/pages/Abgott/199808170684

Abgott - Masters of IllusionsBand line-up:

Agamoth  – Guitars, Vocals
Azael – Guitars
Kaoma Mega – Keyboards
Vordhr – Drums
Lord – Bass

Tracklist:

1.    Black Heart
2.    Sinister
3.    Masters of Illusions
4.    Stregoi VII
5.    Incubus
6.    Children of the Vortex
7.    Descent
8.    Luxuria Et Perturbatio
9.    Confession
10.    Requiem for a Dream
11.    The Legacy
12.    Masters of Illusions (orchestral version)*
13.    Luxuria Et Perturbatio (orchestral version)*
14.    Heaven & Hell (Black Sabbath cover)*
* Limited edition Digipack bonus tracks

Review:

Five years after the powerful “Godfather in Black”, Italian/UK black metallers Abgott are finally back with their fifth opus “Masters of Illusions” and stronger than ever. Despite many line-up changes, this horde is still alive and can be now considered as British due to the fact most of the members are from the UK, except their leader Agamoth (from Germany but currently living in the USA) and Kaoma Mega (keyboardist of Italian Industrial black metal act Throne of Molok). They surprised the entire extreme metal scene in 2011 by appearing in a TV advertisement for Toshiba which was great (although I usually hate most of TV ads) and very funny. But it was not enough for Agamoth and his new henchmen as they had more than one trick up their sleeves!

“Masters of Illusions” is definitely the best Abgott album to date. I would like to highlight the fact I’m currently reviewing the standard version of the album which omits 3 bonus tracks (2 alternate instrumental songs + 1 cover song of Black Sabbath’s cult classic “Heaven & Hell”) available in the limited edition digipack. This new opus leans slightly towards the dark metal genre than their previous black metal releases and it’s clearly the most melodic of all, although the band’s own style is still recognizable to our great satisfaction. To be clear, they’re still playing their own music but in a better way!

The production is far rawer than in the past which is a good thing as it fits very well with their compositions. That’s what Abgott should have sounded in their previous albums as their usual sound is too polished in my opinion (especially on “Artefact of Madness” and “Godfather in Black”). Agamoth’s vocals are still very personal and are one of the trademarks of the band although they remind me a little bit the ones of Agathon Frosteus (from Finnish dark metal horde Gloomy Grim). His guitar solos are also inspired, melodic, showing some heavy/speed metal influences. And as it wasn’t enough, he had the good idea to invite Jesse Black Liu (from the very good Taiwanese symphonic black metal act Chthonic) to add some guitars on “Luxuria Et Perturbatio”. Like his predecessors, “Masters of Illusions” is punctuated by a horrific atmosphere coming from the creepy layers of synths present on the introduction and interludes. They remind automatically some cult Italian horror film soundtracks performed by Fabio Frizzi and Goblin. But here, this dark ambiance is more intense as the brilliant haunting choirs of “Luxuria Et Perturbatio” turn this track into a real black mass.

Even though this album is globally closer to melodic dark metal, the Abgott fans shouldn’t be disappointed as it’s still fast and highly technical. The choruses are catchiest than ever, especially the one of “Children of the Vortex” gently illustrated by some sensual whispered female vocals. Let’s hope that the band will release a video clip for this track as it’s the best one for sure (with blood and chained attractive women hopefully). “Masters of Illusions” is the finest offering carved by Abgott so far and I wasn’t expecting that due to the numerous line-up changes. Congratulations!

Review by  Ancient Winds
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