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Brothers in faith - 74%

Felix 1666, July 5th, 2016
Written based on this version: 2015, CD, Immortal Frost Productions (Limited edition)

There are only two places where Azaghal are staying. Either they work in the recording studios or they celebrate a release party. As soon as the party is over, they return to the studio in order to record new songs. Less busy dudes like Lord Ahriman, mastermind of Dark Funeral, are rubbing their eyes in astonishment. However, the most surprising detail is not the quantity, but the quality of their songs which result in the seemingly endless list of Azaghal's publications.

Here we have a split album with Oath, only five tracks, but a more than solid running time of 47 minutes. Many albums with a comparable structure are exhausting right from the outset, but Azaghal switch on the turbo and start with a raw yet architecturally valuable monument. Of course, Azaghal have not discovered their passion for extremely progressive patterns with the effect that some parts are offered several times. A stormy line of the lead guitar opens the track and turns out to be the main theme of the track. The usual ingredients of Azaghal's art, for example violence, insanity and pure dedication are not missing and a black maelstrom threatens the health of mentally unstable listeners, not least because of the high average speed of the number. The following, equally large-formatted song follows less rapid rhythms, but this does not mean that it lacks of blackness or bitterness in any way. "Taivaankairaaja", the only cut of the split without overlength, is another hellish creation which relies on pure raging brutality, bulky lines and physical exertion. To sum up, Azaghal impress the audience once again with their stubborn adherence to the principles of black metal and the profound, ominous sound plays also leaves its mark.

Oath are a Finnish duo. Listen to its music at home, but do not try to enjoy the songs while driving a car. They blend with the constant roaring of the engine and one hears nothing else but a humming noise. This is not a very punchy production and in particular the vocals are produced with a lot of reverb and echoes. Frankly speaking, I prefer the more organic sound of Azaghal. Nevertheless, the mix does not suffer from unforgivable flaws, perhaps with the exception of the miserable snare drum. Without exaggeration, it sounds like a hollow washing drum.

Be that as it may, the compositions themselves are of greater interest. One can discuss whether the pieces of Oath have enough substance in order to keep up the tension during the entire playtime. Both songs exceed the eleven minutes limit and it's no trivial matter to fill this frame completely with gripping sounds. Therefore, I am not surprised that their first track, the plainly designed "The King", is not the king, but rather the beggar of this album. "Evernight" is also characterised by pretty simple sequences of tones, but they have a higher degree of currishness. Easily comprehensible keyboard lines add a gloomy touch. Just like their more famous compatriots, the two musicians are permeated by the spirit of the sinister sub genre. Their solid performance deserves a grading of 70%, while Azaghal reach a rating of 78%. If you want to sniff another dose of absolutely black metal from Finland or if you want to be the proud owner of an artwork which shows an Egyptian Pharaoh with frog legs (and these options are not mutually exclusive), this one is for you.