Amestigon Thier 01Near the end of Disney’s Ratatouille there’s a climactic scene during which the harsh, scrupulous restaurant critic Anton Ego (personality modelled, clearly, after AMG’s staff) savours the best ratatouille he’s ever had. Overwhelmed by the tastes and flavors that transport him back to his childhood, he’s left altogether dumbfounded with his usual negativity utterly dismantled. In a way, that’s the effect Amestigon’s Thier had on me. But before I begin explaining why exactly this record is as good as it is, two questions linger: who are these guys and where have they come from? While the band members are shrouded by a veil of trve metal mystery, what we do know is that Amestigon is a long-lived, low-key Austrian outfit born out of the minds of legends of the black metal scene (Tharen and Thurisaz from Abigor), and at certain pointsincluded other distinguished musicians such as Silenius from Summoning. More of a project than a full-time band and having published only one album in 20 years (the good but unremarkable Sun of All Suns from 2010), I wouldn’t have bet on them to produce something that could very well end up being one of the best releases of the year.

But here we are. Thier is a near-perfectly crafted record combining all the finest stuff found in melodic black metal through the ages, both old school and modern. Think Dissection’s Somberlain and Naglfar’s Vittra but with a decidedly modern approach. While these throwbacks are obvious, they come natural to the band and don’t feel derivative. The subtly introduced traces of doom, post-metal, Agallochian progressiveness, and experimentalism (title track’s middle section) alongside magnificent riffs and grooves prove to be crucial tools the band uses in their exemplary songwriting, evoking some of Enslaved’s most accomplished works.

While malevolent in its message and approach, Thier unfurls like a beautiful album since Amestigon don’t resort to cynicism, abrasiveness, nor coarseness. Like a pool of the blackest water, threatening and frightening, a dive into it’s depths can feel strangely comforting all the same. This might be due to their sound which is full, warm, and welcoming; easy to absorb and be absorbed into right from the first listen. There’s none of the snobbery or intentional hermeticism associated with contemporary metal acts, even if the relative lengthiness might indicate so. A potential downfall – an hour of music distributed among four tracks spanning from 10 to 20 minutes – that the band turns in their favour by weaving well-thought out and interesting structures with transitions from “aggressive” to “subdued” and back, executed masterfully and with a wonderful sense of flow. All of that and exactly zero seconds of boredom or repetitiveness.

Amestigon Thier 02The opening “Demiurg” is the best track here and one of the best songs I’ve heard all year. The combination of ever-changing, melodic tremolos that lay bare an atmospheric, synth-underlined mood with growls and choral chanting is deeply touching; majestic, chilling, and empowering in a strange way. Whilst a midtempo song in general, there are bursts of speed and great solos rounding out everything. Possibly the only downside to this album emerges from the fact that the following three tracks, “358,” “Thier,” and “Hochpolung,” don’t quite reach the heights of “Demiurg.” Nonetheless, they’re exceptional on their own and rely on the same formula without actually sounding formulaic.

How Amestigon accomplish that task and how they manage to conceive so many memorable and catchy riffs, alternating between them while leading to perfectly timed buildups and spectacular releases, without ever weighting down on the listener remains a mystery. The guitarist(s) are clearly the stars here, but the vocals, drumming, and bass-playing are all of the highest calibre and are often accentuated by the compressed yet somehow very appropriate production. It’s especially the bass that feels crucial to the encompassing warmth, whether providing nuances and textures or having it’s own, meatier flesh. Finally, if it was not clear by now, there’s a severe lack of serious flaws here – and it’s not because I didn’t look for them.

The experience of discovering albums like this make the effort of sifting through piles and piles of mediocre releases feel worthwhile. Amestigon deserve exposure and heaps of praise. They even make me want to stop people on the street and yell about Thier to their faces. I hope the guys are aware what a great record they’ve created and I truly hope that there’s more from them to come.


Rating: 4.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 200 kbps mp3
Label: World Terror Committee
Websites: AmestigonOfficial | Facebook.com/Amestigon
Release Dates: Out Worldwide: 05.28.2015

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  • Feytalist

    You know, I had literally just found out this album is being released today. I’ve been a longtime fan of Amestigon; Sun of All Suns is one of my favourite albums ever. And believe me, I’ve been singing Amestigon’s praises to everyone that would listen for years. Been waiting for another album of theirs for a long time. To hear that it’s so good is… extremely gratifying, to say the least.

    Now if only Tharen would release another Dargaard album, my life would be complete.

    • Roquentin

      While reviewing “Thier,” I went back and listened to “Sun of All Suns”. It’s very good, but I feel that “Thier” is a step above it. I think you’ll love this record.

    • Wilhelm

      I loved those dark neoclassical bands like Dargaard, Die Verbanten Kinder Evas, Arcana, etc. Rise and fall by Dargaard has was an amazing album; I would love to hear more.

      • Roquentin

        And speaking of Austrians, how about Dornenreich? Loved their sound on some releases.

        • Feytalist

          Word. I loved Flammentriebe; Freiheit not so much. But they always continue to surprise, anyway.

          The Austrian black metal scene never disappoints. Abigor, Summoning, Dornenreich, Mondstille (another criminally underrated band) and, of course, Amestigon.

      • Feytalist

        Yeah. I love Dargaard. Elisabeth Toriser has an amazing voice.

  • Dr. A.N. Grier

    Holy shitballs… I gots to haves this.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Well, there is a tenuous relationship between Disney and Metal (or at least hard rock): Snow White belting out the Immigrant Song in Shrek 3.

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        Oh dear lord… NIghtwish would love you right now…

        • Roquentin

          Shhh, lest they hear you.

      • Let ìt go…. let it go….

        • Monsterth Goatom

          I think a Powerwolf cover of that one would take the song into the stratosphere.

          • I might actually pay to hear that!

    • Roquentin

      Is it because:
      a) I’ve desecrated your childhood
      b) or because you don’t like Ratatouille?

      if b)… what kind of a person are you?! It’s well-known that a kid that loves Disney lives inside every metalhead!

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        Ummm… let’s go with both.

        When you’ve seen Disney movies multiple times a week (and sometimes multiple times a day) because of your kids, you come to realize that Disney is the devil’s doing.

        • Monsterth Goatom

          I think Barbie is the Antichrist. Proof: the Barbie “movies” that my girls love to watch (1.5 hr commercials, really). Now there’s a Barbie movie of Romeo and Juliet. When I saw that, I cried.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            Makes the madness stop!!

          • De2013

            I think Satan has multiple personalities. In the Benelux he is known as Gert. Just after creating Barbie he came up with K3. These Barbie inspired real life milfs are even cross marketed at the little girls’ fathers, making the the K3 concept a double whammy. And yes the only way Disney should be brought up over here is nailed to a cross.

            Sorry for the rant. Got a bit caried away.

      • Fuck Disney.

  • This is good, but I’m still having issues with this whole “everything that sounds far away is awesome” trend in metal. I miss raw energy.

    • Monsterth Goatom

      Are you referring to the “Tunnel-shrieking” trend in BM, as coined by Dr. A.N. Grier?

      • Dr. A.N. Grier

        Oh the tunnel shrieking… The fact that you give me credit for coining that means you deserve a prize. Somebody get this dude a cookie!

        • Monsterth Goatom

          Coookiiieeee!

          • sir_c

            Including the Chocolate Chip Chocosphere backdrop…

        • sir_c

          It’s when your cock gets trapped under the toilet seat, that sound?

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            This explains a lot… about a lot of things.

      • Tunnel production. You set all the instruments down the tunnel 40 feet and then you set your microphones up there, that way you can make everything feel as far away as possible. It softens everything up, there’s no attack. No intensity.

        • Monsterth Goatom

          Gotcha. Yes, that can become tiresome. By the way, I listened to Vorum’s first E.P. after you name-dropped it and, yes, that raw, gritty sound is stellar. Have to admit I never heard of them before. Love that sort of up-front, in-your-face power, as in Horrendous’ The Stranger.

    • Roquentin

      I don’t follow. I think Amestigon have their fair share of blast-beat + tremolos throughout the record. They also have those somewhat out-of-focus parts, yes, but they actually serve a purpose and are executed very well. Plus, the transitions between the sections are seamless.

      OTOH, when I think of “raw energy”, Imperial Triumphant comes to mind out of all the good recent releases.

      • Monsterth Goatom

        Imperial Triumphant for sure. I would also add Infernal War’s Axiom, Ninkharsag’s Blood of Celestial Kings The Crown’s Death is not Dead. Plenty of raw energy to go around for everyone. Stop pushing and get back in line!

      • No, but it’s the fact that when you produce records so that everythign sounds really far away, a blast beat has no oomph. Trempicking has no bite. Everything sounds soft, even though ti’s “heavy”.

  • Howard Dean

    Great stuff. Will definitely purchase.

    Hoping an American distro will come through and confirm that they will be carrying this. WTC doesn’t have it up in their webshop yet, so who knows? Delays have been pretty common these days.

    • Roquentin

      I want to buy it too, but the physical copy doesn’t seem to be available anywhere yet.

      • Howard Dean

        World Terror Committee has it available now. I just saw them post it on Facebook a little while ago.

        No word on what distro will be the North American distributor, but I imagine someone (HH, DD, NWN!) will get some copies, so that we won’t have to pay shipping from Germany.

        • Roquentin

          There’s a twist, though! I’m in Europe! Ha!

          Thanks for letting me know, I’ll go grab me a copy.

          • Howard Dean

            Well, that’s good news for you, then! 12 euro plus whatever the shipping is to where you live.

            I’ve ordered from WTC before, but I try to minimize trans-Atlantic shipping costs whenever I can.

          • Roquentin

            Ordered. BTW, the shipping is the same whether it’s to NA or EU. It’s only cheaper if you’re in Germany proper, go figure.

          • Howard Dean

            Nice! Might give it a go, then.

    • Have you heard the whole thing? If so what’s your take? Its gonna be in my top 10 unless 10 better records come out this year. That’s not to say it’s #1 but it could end up being so.

      • BANNED: Howard Dean

        Yeah, I’ve heard the whole thing. Very impressive. A strong black metal release in 2015 among a very strong field. So far this year has been to black metal what 2014 was to death metal (though 2015 has been a great year for the more bestial side of death metal).

  • Worldeater

    Who gives a damn about the zero score for Austria in the ESC … we got a 4.5 from AMG!

  • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

    The vocals in “Demiurg” are just awesome.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Whilst I’m pleased to see a goat skull here. I think Steel Druhm was very generous allowing this pass with out a unicorn shaming…

    This sounds great, will definitely pick it up…Maybe a challenge to Imperial Triumphant for BM release of the year?
    Given AMGs comment below and the high score…is there a dissenting alternate view amongst AMG staff on this I wonder…

    I’m fishing for more double reviews in case you weren’t noticing…

    • Kronos

      That’s a cervid skull, either Dama dama or Cervus elaphus.

      …you idiot.
      I did in fact consider writing under the pseudonym “pedantic metal guy.”

      • Carlos Marrickvillian

        haha I just see what I wanna see!
        I’m pretty sure lower right is a goat skull though… Admittedly it has been while between sacrifices for me

  • OzanCan

    ORMAGÖDEN! THE FIRE BEAST! THE CREMATER OF THE SKY!
    I needs me some black metal >:)

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    I’d also like to thank this review for reminding me to listen to Demiurg..it had been to long :)

  • Luke_22

    Thanks for the heads-up man. Never heard these guys but that epic sample track has me very intrigued to hear more.

  • Feeblejocks

    Yes. Yes. Just … yes. THIS is why I listen to SO much shitty black metal. It’s to feel the raw passion and evocation that albums like this create. There are so many god-awful black metal bands, but finding a Jute Gyte, a Deathspell Omega, or an album like this makes it all worthwhile. Now to wait for the album to drop on Bandcamp.

  • Óðinn

    Good review. Thanks Roquentin.