Moribund has always been notorious/iconic for having a roster of bands that sound as though they record their albums with faulty walkie-talkies. It really makes me wonder how these bands connect the amps to those walkie-talkies, and doesn’t doing this void the warranty for the walkie-talkies as well? What if they got trapped in their underground recording studios and actually need to use the walkie-talkies for what they really are?

I love the Finnish. Metal is Finland’s best export, and although modern metal seems to make up the bulk of it, there is some really excellent underground black metal brewing in that country as well. Azaghal is one such act from Finland, and they are turning 17 this year. Although they may share the same age as rebellious adolescents on their way to adulthood, Azaghal are anything but juvenile. They mean serious business.

Razor-sharp riffs, Dissection-like guitar motifs, disgusted shrieks, creepily auto-tuned shrieks (as most clearly heard in “The Pit Of Shoggoths” and “Satanic Devotion”), accurate drumming that doesn’t go overboard with blast beating, and a defiantly traditional ‘Hail Satan’ attitude are all found on this record. It’s a mix of conventional and unconventional aspects of black metal, but the overall direction still points towards the ugly aesthetics of conventional black metal; a combination that works very well for black metal in my books.

If a comparison has to be drawn, Azaghal reminds me a little of fellow black metallers Sargeist, another excellent Finnish black metal band on Moribund’s current roster (last year’s Let The Devil In was really good!). Both of them are outstanding examples of black metal bands that can actually create infectious songs through mid-paced guitar melodies and non-200 BPM drumming; a feat constantly achieved by the legendary Immortal, but seldom heard from the vast majority of the black metal-making crowd in today’s blackened death/thrash climate.

Listen to “Vihasta ja Veritöistä” for example, the opening guitar motif isn’t played at a blazing fast speed; its moderate tempo gives you ample time to take in all the melancholy and makes you want to weep. The dirty, mean-sounding grooves of “Black Legions Of Satan” just hits the G-spot in your ears so well too, painting an apocalyptic landscape of marching demon hordes in your mind throughout the entire length of the song. Sure, such imagery may be cliché, but it complements the album theme and sound, so why not?

Surprisingly and impressively, clean singing is actually also present and utilized to great effect. It is doled out sparingly, a cautious move on Azaghal’s part to avoid sounding too “clean” probably, and short instances of it can be heard in the tracks “Ex Nihilo” and “Nemesis”. It’s a nice little respite from all the black metal fury whenever the clean singing comes on, and the temporary sense of calm that tingles your heart before all the black metal fury begins again is just so sadistically thrilling!


[Visit the band's website]
Written by Dane Prokofiev
January 24th, 2012


  1. Commented by: Jesse Wolf

    The opening paragraph was awesome. Checking this band out now. Sick review bro. \m/

  2. Commented by: GW

    You love the Finnish?

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