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Dark and relentless - 75%

CadenZ, April 29th, 2017
Written based on this version: 2009, CD, Agonia Records

“Polish”. “Death metal”. What do you think of when you hear those two combined? Vader? Behemoth? Yup, me too. Azarath is a Polish death metal band with Inferno of the aforementioned B on drums. Anyone care to guess what they sound like? Yup, you guessed it. Sleazy melodeathcore with clean vocal choruses. Not. It does sound a bit like the two big ones from their home estates, especially Behemoth; but there’s something that’s different about them. They’re…dirtier. More malignant. More pure death metal without synths, no slow bombastic sections and not as much thrash influences, with more nods in the black metal direction instead. This is quite good (evil?) shit, actually.

The overall atmosphere of the album is very dark and relentless, and the tempo is quite high throughout the disc. The riffage almost never slows down but keeps the listener’s balls in a tight, furious grip, showing no signs of merciful release. When the tempo does go down the bass drums still hammer away at blazing speeds (example: the chorus of “Throne of Skulls”, great stuff!), but soon enough the onslaught continues with another blastbeat stunner. There are some quality tremolo riffs and leads with dual guitar harmonies (think Morbid Angel or Nile, not Iron Maiden or In Flames) and also some guitar solos, which don’t impress me too much but they do their job. There’s also a very neat gloomy clean guitar part at the end of the title track, reminds me a bit of Meshuggah’s clean interludes. I have to mention the album closer as well; “From Beyond the Coldest Star” is one of the best instrumentals I’ve heard in this genre. Nice riffing and an ethereal feel.

The drumming is immaculate, as would be expected from Inferno. Without a drummer of his caliber “Praise the Beast” would fall to pieces in an instant; all the blasts and other complex beats require an elite force behind the kit to even sound comprehensible, let alone good. I can assure you that they sound fucking awesome. Everything is exceptionally well performed; though the snare could’ve been mixed lower, especially during blasts. The bass drums’ trigger is also a tad too loud but doesn’t bother too much if you don’t specifically focus on listening to it. All in all the production is quite good, it’s clear enough but still dirty. Bruno’s meaty vocals are another plus; his deep, brutal and ominous growls fit perfectly with the soundscape.

On to the negatives: overall it feels like “Praise the Beast” is nothing new or spectacular, it’s like I’ve heard most of this before. Also, after having listened through this several times I still don’t remember a single riff…but it’s nice to listen to while listening to it.

All in all this is fast, violent and very well-played death metal with a dark atmosphere of ill-will, but not too original or catchy. Recommended to all fans of malicious death metal.

I got nothing. - 75%

Empyreal, June 30th, 2009

Azarath are a Death Metal band from Poland, imagine that, and they have the interesting ailment of having riffing that is strangely more Black Metal-influenced than Death Metal-influenced. This gives this whole album a very individualistic and unique sound, but I don't think it's done in a manner that is quite captivating enough to truly arrest the listener, merely being competent and fittingly evil. I mean, that is basically the mission this album and most others of its style set out to accomplish - be as evil and destructive as possible.

These guys have no problem admitting that, either; this album is just flat out, unabashedly satanic. Everything is played in a very tumbling, rough manner that resembles a fleet of boulders rolling down a cliff towards you, as you're stuck in a mire of quicksand, unable to escape. The guitars are fast and groovy and biting, the drumming is simple and bashing, fitting the music as a whole, and the bass is a staticy rumble of disease that never lets up. The vocals are usually a deathy growl not worlds removed from Vader's Piotr Wiwczarek, and they work well - ESPECIALLY when they're varied up for a cool gang-styled shout in some songs like "Sacrifice of Blood" and the cool "Queen of the Sabbath." This is something that extreme metal bands should experiment with more often, as it's a very cool sound and lends a lot to the music. There's even some variety here, with the last song having a very different, very cold atmosphere compared to the hellish ones exhibited throughout the rest of the stuff here.

Pretty much all of these songs are quality, with the band keeping things interesting for forty minutes and putting a smile on the face of anyone who enjoys a good old human mincing BBQ of blackened proportions. Azarath have not created anything astounding here, but they did make a very solid and vehement album that will actually grow on you with further listens. Always gnashing their teeth and sharpening their horns, Azarath are an unholy beast of a band you won't want to miss this year if you like extreme metal. Recommended.

Originally written for http://www.metalcrypt.com