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I've quite taken to the more experimental and progressive breed of black metal grown so rapidly in the past decade, worshiping bands like Enslaved and Klabautamann to no end. Such groups have evolved a genre not known for its technical courage to new heights of creativity and melody, increasing black metal's relevance in the present day. That doesn't mean, however, that a storm of bestial intensity can no longer enthrall the senses in our stuffy, elitist age of innovation equaling quality. Sometimes you just want a consistent torrent of sucker punches to the face, and in that light, Abazagorath has delivered in spades with their self-titled EP.
It would be fair to say that Abazagorath possesses a one-track mind, and luckily for us, that track is a mighty fine one replete with brutal yet catchy finesse. No screwing around is committed here. After a brief, subtle intro, "The Antigod" kicks it up a notch, blasting and pounding its way to the top with some melodic relief provided by the slower sections in between. In fact, this isn't just a voyage made by straight speed and aggression; the band expertly mixes in mid-paced riffs and patterns, making this swarm a bit more memorable and the tracks more distinguishable. Nihilist, if that is his real name, gives an appropriately tortured performance behind the microphone, and his vocal lines complement these tracks well. Sorry, weaklings: no clean vocals or ballads here. Heartbreaking, isn't it?
It's all cloaked in a modern (but not too shiny) production, so Abazagorath isn't exactly a second wave time capsule, not that it needs to be. The highlights are many, even for an EP. "Storms of Destruction" crawls from creation with a haunting and crafty intro, evoking the morbid resurrection of an ancient, evil spirit. The bludgeoning growls thrown in about halfway through only further such a vision as the subtle acoustics elucidate it. "Lapse" is the shortest complete composition here, and it doesn't fail to make a stirring impression with its blazing rhythms. Out of the 23 sharp minutes offered here, I can't really fault one, even if I found "Immortals" to be the least toxic of the bunch; not bad, and it certainly congeals with its surroundings, but it's not quite as memorable as the others.
I won't comment on this EP's place in Abazagorath's discography, as I'm not familiar with the older work of the band, but I really can't see this release disappointing any fan of primal, no-BS black metal. At any rate, Abazagorath should be a clear indication of a band alive, well, and thriving after four years of silence. I might like my black metal stirred with psychedelia and weirdness, but who's to say I can't pour a smooth glass of well-executed, abrasive chaos every once in a while? It's simple, it's relatively straightforward, but it's also sick and easily replayable. What could be wrong with that? A full-length release of this caliber could make some serious waves. Sure to provide a necessary component to your secret cult meetings.