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Dargonomel - Astazebian - 90%

Edmund Sackbauer, August 14th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2017, CD, More Hate Productions

Most of the time I like my Death Metal pure and in the Oldschool vein staying clear of any other influences. Stumbling over “Astazebian” I did not really expect to like this Album that much as it is described as a hybrid of Death and Black Metal with a lot of brutal and atmospheric sections. While I can agree on this description the final result is a great piece of extreme music and much more accessible than it might sound in the first place.

It seems that the most prominent band Dargonomel are compared to is Behemoth. I have to admit that I do not own any record by them but I got reminded of another Polish band called Begerith who are playing a similar style to Dargonomel.

The basic framework consists of driving Death Metal riffs which are combined with great melodies and dark harmonies giving the whole thing a blackened touch. Most of the time the band attacks with furious speed but there are enough sections where the tempo is slowed down a bit and rhythm changes are implemented. This helps as otherwise the permanent pummeling would get too much for some listeners.

The rhythm guitar and the lead work are perfectly complementing each other. The main themes range from melodic and uplifting to dark and melancholic. The drumming is brutal and relentless without getting to technical. Generally speaking the instrumentation is top notch.

Fortunately the songwriting skills are also great and while it might take more than one listen to really “get” everything the band always keeps the song itself in the focus. There is a stringent structure to be found in each of the tracks.

The vocals are deep and growly most of the time sounding very aggressive and angry. Singer Var acts like a mad priest summoning some demons. This is perfectly fitting as the lyrics are about occult stuff, Monsters and ancient curses. The same can be said about the sinister cover art work held in black/white with sprinkles of red which also adds to the overall atmosphere of the record.

The production is powerful and clear giving each instrument enough room to be heard. For some Metal fans it might sound too modern but I believe this is the way the music on “Astazebian” has to sound. With a filthier production job some of the details might have been buried in the mix which would have been a shame.

All that said I am looking forward to hearing more from these guys.