When you get the album from the band Kult ov Azazel with a man-goat on the cover you know what to expect. I haven’t been familiar with the outfit outside some random mp3s, but the feeling emanated just by the name, booklet and band picture is clear. Some blasphemous Satanic black metal is in order.
Formed in 1999, as Azazel, the band has created itself a name and the following in the underground. While remaining quite kult, a number of mCDs and splits were recorded with music mostly of raw mayhem nature. Having changed their name in 2000, and securing the deal with Arctic Music Group, the band released a couple of full-lengths as well, The World, The Flesh and The Devil technically being the third album created by the profane dark lords.
Many of the purists will either call The World, The Flesh and The Devil norsecore, or will cringe because Kult of Azazel have elected to go with full punchy production rather than upholding the early, thin and flat approach. Rooted in US black metal scene, the band borrows from Swedish style of blasphemy when it comes down to bottom end. No matter the speed, the bass drum and bass guitar are not tinny, and come through with a mighty roar. At the same time, band’s obvious connections to Eric Rutan (Hate Eternal) push their guitar technicalities another notch. The presence of Shawn Ohtani (Council of the Fallen) as a producer further blurs the lines between black metal and death metal guitar punch not allowing the music to drown in one neverending pool of tremolo.
“No Beauty, No Atmosphere, No Tranquillity” self-imposed motto is all well and good. For the most parts of the album Kult ov Azazel sticks to the formula and delivers solid, but only above average, sounds of its constantly churning warmachine. It helps that the rhythm is not just a continuous blastbeat, with Hammer (drums), switching effortlessly between blasting and profound double bass. Confined within the walls put together by the rhythm section, rapid-fire voices and flailing guitars are desperately trying to get out. Slowed down (An Eternity with Satan) or accelerated (As Temples Burn) Kult ov Azazel music is black version of battle metal, the demonic warcry, further enhanced by the backing vocals which feel like possessed banshee legions. If you dig Marduk and Dark Funeral you will most definitely enjoy The World, The Flash and The Devil. In fact, the music will sound less tired than the aforementioned Swedish masters.
Yet in the middle of the album sit three tracks, Compelled to Die, The Glorification of Evil and Trampling the Cross, which show Kult ov Azazel climbing to the higher levels. Amid chaos and pandemonium loose melodic moments begin to rise from being just subliminal background. The Glorification of Evil places melody above the blastfest, transcending it, without losing a drop of demoncy. Epic rolls of Trampling the Cross invoke Immortal (always a good thing), with guitar riffs washing ashore in waves. If the next Kult of Azazel album has more of those type songs count me among converted. It isn’t that the above motto was sacrificed, but the band simply rose above itself, coupling its very obvious technical prowess with the feeling perfect for the message they are trying to convey.
Lyrically, the band takes no prisoners. All monotheistic god followers, Christian, Muslim, Hindu and Jew alike, will suffer from the “destruction and agony” the black hordes will bring. I like that kind of Equal Opportunity for every false believer to be pulverized. Without getting into a philosophical debate, however, how is Satanism not another form of monotheism, the very form of belief Kult ov Azazel despises so much? We won’t argue that, however. The band is spreading an equal amount of contempt for every existing religion and I get the point.
Not nature or despondency oriented black metal, Kult ov Azazel is quite a bit along the lines of I.C.E., the band that came out of nowhere and wowed me last year. Not as excited, but nevertheless impressed, Kult of Azazel are worthy of your attention as well.
Killing Songs :
Compelled to Die, The Glorification of Evil, Trampling the Cross
|Alex quoted 72 / 100|
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