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Alghanzanth is a band that I just recently found, having willed myself to listen to any and all forms of Black Metal I came across, purely by instinct. I was rather unsure about this band, simply by the album artwork. It reminded me too much of the Hellenic Black Metal scene -- bands I'm not too fond of whatsoever. I was pleasantly surprised when I settled down to listen to the first track off this album, finding a purely sublime Melodic Black Metal atmosphere that overwhelmed me as the album progressed.
I realize now, that this is, in fact, the third LP release by this band, and am currently tracking down their catalog. I have heard many bands in my days as having been described as similar to the "Enthrone Darkness Triumphant" era Dimmu Borgir, but this band and this album are the closest I've ever heard to that exact release. This is grade A material; Alghanzanth have created amazingly symphonic structure within their songs, but have not at all lost any aggression or technicality due to the layers of keyboards found within their songs. The entire album, while having its melodic moments, is quite fast. The drums banter away, with quick foot work and lots of blast beats. The guitars are not thin, and have a nice crunch to them -- and the bass is audible! The vocalist is versatile in not only the standard 'black metal' vocals, but he can do some pretty deep grunts, too. More than once, throughout the album, both styles of singing make their presence. It's a nice balance, and quite a relief since most listeners may find this genre of music to be generic or boring; this release keeps you entertained and entranced for the entire duration of the disc.
I'm fond of this release and, now, this band. Highly recommended, especially for the hidden Megadeth cover!
Comparisons have been made by many that Alghazanth is much like Dimmu Borgir on steroids. I will not argue the fact that the two bands are similar, but it seems that Alghazanth and Dimmu have as many differences as they have similarities. What you have here is a symphonic black metal album. The keyboards have some nice flourishes occasionally, but the main focus of “Osiris-Typhon Unmasked” are the fast guitar strumming of the guitars and the blast-beat of the drums. If comparisons to Dimmu are to be made, it should be said that for the most part Alghazanth plays faster and less melodic.
Not that there isn’t melody on this album: just listen to “Antithesis” and you’ll see the band has a firm grasp of what works when introducing keyboards to fast, blast-beat centered black metal. There are occasional flourishes of keyboard work that tend to slow the music down and add a little more depth to the work. The main style for the keyboard is that haunting, gothic, chapel sounding style that many symphonic black metal bands have been using lately. The keyboards do have some interesting facets, especially when they take a more classical approach.
The guitars are done very well, a lot of aggression, and in some places a nice distorted melody is played over the rest of the music. The drums aren’t all blast-beats, but that style is very prevalent on this album. There are occasional sections where the drums slow down to add an overall slower feeling to the music.
The production is excellent on this album. It seems that as time goes on, old school black metal production values get worse, and symphonic black metal production gets better. All of the instruments are relatively level in the mix. The vocals are a little low in the mix at times, but since there isn’t much variety in the style of singing, it’s not that big of a flaw. The drums and guitars are where they should be in the mix. One of the great surprises of this album (other than the brilliant “Antithesis”) is the secret track: a cover of Megadeth’s “Symphony of Destruction” in Alaghazanth’s own style. Very nicely done!
This is not the most groundbreaking (read: it doesn’t break any new ground) album, but it has some cool ideas and concepts. The style they play has an air of familiarity. The songs are not ripped off and not rehashed; it’s just difficult to be a standout in such a crowded field. This album is a good representative of what symphonic black metal is all about. This is recommended to black metal fans, symphonic metal fans, and fans of extreme metal.