Azaghal
Teraphim

Not every Finnish band needs to emerge from a Nosferatu-style coma to write a good black metal record. Beherit might get the most attention because they dropped off the face of the earth for almost two decades before this year’s strong comeback. The smart money is on Azaghal, a black metal outfit that seems to record a new album or split every year. Add Teraphim to the pile of rock-solid releases from this band, a group of corpsepainted Finns that have a steadfast musical vision and the work ethic of a day laborer.

Finnish isn’t my native tongue and I would be tongue-tied trying to pronounce the band member’s stage or birth names (Niflungr? How the hell do you say that?). The power of a good riff is universal, though, and there are plenty of them here. These guys are able to throw hooks in every song without veering into black-and-roll turf. Azaghal ably walks the line between the anarchistic impulses of black metal and the catchy grooves of arena rock.

Teraphim never drags but some tracks are particularly strong. “Filosof” has riffage worthy of latter-day Satyricon without the studio gloss that some fans detest. “Teraphim- Puhdistava Tuli” deceptively starts out as a rager laden with blast-beats and later weaves in a synthetic groove that would fit on Burzum’s “Daudi Baldrs.” If you look underneath the album find you’ll an attention to songcraft missing in most fast, aggressive black metal. It’s sort of like a hybrid of Marduk’s Panzer Division and Now, Diabolical. Don’t forget to listen for the short but worthy solo on “Uhrattu.”

Azaghal’s Teraphim is worthy of your time. You’ll need a good week to catch up on the band’s back catalog. So you might want to start listening to their latest album now since they’ll probably release another good record before you log off.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Justin M Norton
December 28th, 2009

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