Amestigon - _Sun of All Suns_
(Hau Ruck! Records, 2010)
by: Mark Dolson (6 out of 10)
Admittedly, I'm not all that familiar with the Austrian outfit Amestigon. I recall clearly, though, back in 1996 a good friend of my bought the Amestigon _Mysterious Realms_ / Angizia _Heidebilder_ split released by Napalm Records. I remember being somewhat intrigued by the Amestigon portion of the disc, and eagerly awaited a full-length release. What grabbed my attention most, I think, was the fact that Silenius from Abigor and Summoning was featured on vocals; and since I absolutely loved the aforementioned bands (especially their early work), I was hoping that Amestigon would be yet another impressive member of the notorious "Austrian Black Metal Syndicate".

Unfortunately, Amestigon haven't been too productive over the years. Aside from releasing just two EPs, _Hollentanz_ in 1998 and _Remembering Ancient Origins_ in 2000, and a split (Amestigon _Fatal Illumination_ / Hellbound _Nebelung, 1384_) in 2002, _Sun of All Suns_ is the band's only full-length release. So, after all of these years of sporadic activity, what can we expected with _Sun of All Suns_? The answer to this isn't easy. I really wanted to like the material here; however, after a few listens it just kept coming up short. Strewn across the six songs totaling just over 43 minutes, there's quite a bit of variation, but the problem is that I've heard all of this before. After the rather boring three plus minute intro, the track "Autophobia" kicks in with a slower-paced vibe, not unlike the slower material on Arthemesia's _A.o.A._album. Everything is in order here: slower, daze-inducing and circular riffs; typical and dry black-metal rasps with a croupy tonality; slower, plodding drums; and, finally, the atmospheric synth accompaniment.

The next song, "Daymares, Ketamine & Misanthropy" follows a very different path—albeit one already established years ago. Rushing into focus with a lethargic but measured blast-beat and traditional black-metal riff, I'm reminded of Darkthrone's "En Vind Av Sorg" ("A Wind of Sorrow") from their _Panzerfaust_ album. The riff and blast-beat interplay amuse nostalgically for a few minutes, but then give way to a stranger beast: shoe-gazy, dreamy and whimsical clean guitars with some interesting spoken monologue in the lingering in the background. I don't know, but my first thought was that this is something that wouldn't sound out of place on an Alcest or Allgaloch album. However, they change tack quickly and unleash the same blast-beast-cum-Darkthrone-inspired riff that got us here in the first place.

All of the other tracks seem to follow this slow song, then fast song with strange, dreamy parts (just listen to "That Which is Falling...), then another slow song formula. I remember Hypocrisy used to do this quite a bit back in the day, especially on _The Fourth Dimension_, _Abducted_, and their self-titled album from 1999. Another issue I had with _Sun of All Suns_ is that there are sections that sound very similar to Secrets of the Moon's latest album, _Privilegivm_ and Odem Arcarum's latest offering, _Outrageous Reverie Above the Erosion of Barren Earth_ (read: clean guitars with those characteristic crooked and disorienting string-bendings). This last approach is great when juxtaposed with some controlled aggression and speed; and it definitely does paint a convincing uncomfortably oneiric (dream-like) landscape; but it's just not enough to hold my attention for very long.

My final diagnosis is that _Sun of All Suns_ is just "okay" and nothing more. Sure, it's "avant-garde" black-metal, but so what? We've heard this approach dozens of times; and, quite frankly, the other times I've heard this approach (such as Arthemesia, Allgaloch, and Secrets of the Moon), I liked it much better. Still, if you're into some of the last-mentioned bands, why not give _Sun of All Suns_ a try? You won't find anything you haven't heard before, though -- trust me on that.


(article published 28/7/2010)

4/13/1998 S Hoeltzel 8 Amestigon - Hollentanz
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