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Black metal with the perfect atmosphere. The drums don't overpower the mix, they're right where they should be. The guitar tone and production couldn't be better. The vocals are some of the best in black metal. The keyboards create atmosphere without attention whoring. It's pretty much your standard black metal affair. Tremolo picked riffs with a human machine blasting away at the drums while the vocalist goes on and on about whatever he's saying, with the optional addition of keyboards to heighten the atmosphere. It's the recipe that you've heard a million time before, but done utterly perfectly.
They do relent from time to time, they slow it down every now and then, resulting in a riff with an even better atmosphere, and then fluidly getting right back at it. The drums are actually pretty varied and laden with fills, which you don't see all that often in the land of black metal. The production is as clear and sharp as a diamond. There are no flaws on the album. Period. It's a smooth journey through an atmosphere filled with demons and big scary castles and whatever. Nothing sounds forced, when a clean guitar comes or goes it's as if there couldn't be any other option there.
Wreath of Thevetat is guaranteed to get your foot tapping, or your head banging, or your body convulsing, maybe even all three. Don't let the "symphonic" scare you, the album would still be great even without the keyboards, the keyboards are just there to add that little extra something to the atmosphere. And the vocals, the vocals! They're inhumanly awesome.
originally written for http://heavymetalsociety.org
Finland’s ALGHAZANTH has always (at least since I started to listen to metal) been one of my favorite black metal bands. Even though symphonic black metal is a genre where it is pretty hard to get a major breakthrough and pretty easy to be called a copycat ALGHAZANTH do what they do and they do it damn good!
Kicking off in -95 they have managed to release 4 albums before this one. There have been a few changes in the band over the years and since their last release “The Polarity Axiom” (2004), more then half their line-up has changed. First of all former vocalist Nebiros has left the band and been replaced by Goat Tormentor on vocals and bass (Goat Tormentor is none other than Mikko Kotamäki from SWALLOW THE SUN), the keyboards are now handled by Ekholm instead of A. Simonen who performed them on all other releases and the lead guitar are now played by Grimort instead of Infection. The rhythm guitars are still handled by Thasmorg and the drums played by Gorath Moonthorn, as they have been since the beginning of the band. A perfect line-up completed, now how about the music.
The music, yes.
Well, it is fucking amazing!
The first track “Moving Mountains” really set a high standard for the rest of the songs, which seems hard to live up to but when “The Kings To Come” kick off we quickly understand that ALGHAZANTH has created a minor masterpiece on this album. All the songs follow the same pattern, ripping guitars, perfectly placed keyboards and a drum performance out of this world. Gorath Moonthorn has already proven himself to be a good drummer but this is just amazing and the guitar work from Grimort and Thasmorg are just outstanding, not many black metal bands in the world have two so skilled guitarists as these gentlemen. And the vocals! Oh my god, the vocals. Well, we already knew that Mikko Kotamäki was an awesome growler, but I didn’t see this coming! What he does here, on this album, must one of the best vocal efforts in black metal that I have ever heard.
So musically this album is one of the best.
The songwriting of the band has developed a lot too. Songs like “On Blackening Soil”, “Twice-Born” and the album closer “As Nothing Consumes Everything” are extremely well performed and arranged.
To make a closure to this review, all I can say is that this record is definitely one of the best this year and should be checked out by every one that calls himself a black metal fan. It doesn’t get much better than this!