A name almost lost to the annals of black metal history, Austria’s Amestigon returned with their first full-length in 2010, a full fifteen years since their initial demo Mysterious Realms. After dissolving the band, Amestigon’s members went on to become pillars of the Austrian black metal scene, operating in Summoning and Abigor. Subsequently Thier, the second full-length release by this revived force, not only draws on a wealth of black metal talent, but revitalizes a band with a shadow that stretches back to the midst of the second wave.
Four tracks of blazing, spectral black metal, Thier possesses a distinctive character, with a raw yet melodic and compositionally intricate sound that stands alone from the output that those behind Amestigon have otherwise released. The record is dripping with slow, ominous menace and death-like solemnity, yet interspersed with moment of diabolical black metal savagery, with each track contributing essentially to its structure. This masterfully constructed pace proves a crucial element of Their; while the shortest song clocks in at the mid-10 minute mark and the longest reaches almost 20, Amestigon don’t overstretch their songs or waste time with recycled and unengaging passages of familiar blasting/tremolo riffs. Instead the album plays out with measured intensity and shifts between well-structured periods of tension and release, creating a sinister and captivating sonic journey through a spiritualistic void. Opener Demiurg flows from a harmonic, brooding intro into a violently yet melancholic display of layered riffery, while title-track Thier traverses a plane of hypnotic, underlying soundscapes to gravitate towards a wild-eyed frenzy, before transforming into a climax that emanates an almost early doom/death vibe. This broad stylistic base demonstrates both Amestigon’s prowess as musicians, but also imbues the release with a distinctive sound, merging traditional and raw production with superior compositional skills and the kind of powerful songwriting not often present on the more stripped-back of modern releases.
An often haunting, beautiful, visceral, and sorrowful album, Thier is a separate entity from the more conventional and prevalent approaches of all-out aggression or droning, minimalistic black metal. Amestigon’s ability to hone their own edge on the style with an hour long release that never fails to be dynamic and attention-grabbing demonstrates not just their background as long-established black metal musicians, but just how important it was to bring this band back to life. A slice of melodic, modern, and malevolent black metal, Thier is a release that those who like their music profound and darkly elegant should not miss.