Written by: AP on 28/05/2010 02:05:52

Abrogation refers to denunciation of a treaty and, as it happens, also to a melodic death metal band from the German town of Magdeburg. This is an interesting proposition when one remembers that most releases that we are sent from Germany fall into the power metal and gothic genres, as is the fact that Abrogation have chosen to growl in their native tongue. I have lived in Germany twice and studied the language at intermediate level some years ago but alas, my competences do not stretch as far as deciphering what tales the lyrics on "Sarggeburt" tell. The album's title roughly translates to coffinbirth, and the promotional material describes the thematic material as medieval; the rest shall be left to the imagination and really, the language barrier is hardly the problem. I'll be the first to admit that I have trouble decoding the lyrics from growling even when it is done in English, so the experience has in no degree been lessened by Abrogation's choice of language.

On the contrary - the German lyrics actually give "Sarggeburt" most of its character. Just like Finntroll, who claim that their lyrics are in Swedish because then the music sounds more trollish, Abrogation come across as that much folkier and that much more medieval via the thick and rich pronounciation of the German language. The music, too, resembles that of Finntroll, although the black metal influences are not as overt here. Instead, inspiration has been drawn from the very old Gothenburg sound (think "Lunar Strain" and "Subterranean" era In Flames, "Skydancer" era Dark Tranquillity and naturally of course pre-"Slaughter of the Soul" era At The Gates), in which the riffs are both extremely melodic and distressingly foreboding, and the production has been kept as low key as possible (though not in the Norwegian black metal sense). As would also be expected from a band as experienced as Abrogation (formed in 1997), the various influences have been combined seamlessly into profoundly written songs ripe with recognisable melodies and soaring guitar solos, which vocalist Schwarte spearheads with jugular vocals reminiscent of Mikael Stanne's (Dark Tranquillity) resonant growling style.

As such it is relatively easy to recognise that what Abrogation have achieved here is not trivial. "Sarggeburt" is a worthwhile piece of music that should be able to stand its ground in the shadow of the Gothenburg Goliaths even with its late entry into the wider international spotlight. Still, like so many melodic death metal bands that try their trade in the now heavily populated genre, Abrogation does not make much of an attempt to differentiate themselves (apart from the German vocals) and as a result, the band is destined to remain in a limbo of competence and perseverance without the means to extricate and distinguish their product in order to cater to an ever more demanding host of fans shuffling through piles and ranks of generic bands and records in search of some singularity that might restore their faith in people's ability to create diverse and personalised (heavy) music.

Download: Eisenketzer, Seelenverkaufer, Ich bin der Sieg, Eisenmütze
For the fans of: Akrea, Dark Tranquillity, Finntroll, Kalmah
Listen: MySpace

Release date 12.02.2010

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