Release DetailsLABEL Moribund Records
RELEASED ON 1/30/2007
Act III: Self... Act IV: Goat (2 Discs)
posted on 2/2007 By:
Paraphrased from Wikipedia: “Azrael is typically known as one of the names of the angel of death, and is an English form of the Arabic name Ezra'il or Ezra'eil, the name traditionally attributed to the angel of death in Islam, although the Qur'an never uses this name, usually using instead Malak al-Maut (which is a direct translation of angel of death). The name literally means whom God helps. He is generally depicted as an archangel under the command of God rather than in the fashion of the figure of Death personified. Azrael is portrayed as residing in the third Heaven. He has four faces and four thousand wings, and his whole body consists of eyes and tongues, the number of which corresponds to the number of people inhabiting the earth. He will be the last to die, recording and erasing constantly in a large book the names of men at birth and death, respectively.”
And in a draining two cd, two hour affair, he will come to you in your sleep.
All drama aside, Minnesota forest dwelling, corpse-painted two piece, Azrael, with their combined third and fourth efforts have delivered a paranoia inducing, nervous, yet depressively epic record that should elevate them to the top of the USBM scene. Though not as purely psychotic or nail biting as say Leviathan or Xasthur, Azrael’s more doom inspired take on black metal is more akin to the likes of Forgotten Tomb (and maybe even Disembowelment), but within its bleak throes is still a tense and nervous journey into shadowy oblivion.
As with most of Azrael’s American peers, these 18 lengthy racks are not about moments, riffs or memorable segments, but rather a slow, draining, and taught trip into psychosis. Where Leviathan does it with terrifying sampling and staccato slivers of riffage, Azrael’s approach is a drawn out, often instrumental mix of haunting acoustics, percussion and terse dynamics. Mid range wails and shrieks do arise for a number of the tracks but only serve to break up the hypnotic hues and tones of the often simple but effective structures. In fact, a lot of Azrael’s material shares traits with the more amicable bands like Dornenreich or Empyrium, but with a far darker, occult and disturbing visage.
That being said from Self, the haunting cello intro "Silence", “Seeping Into the Wound”, “Swing the Blade” and “Diminished” are particularly effective in conveying near paralysis and nightmarish jitters that will often cradle you gently into a acoustic filled dreamscape, before suddenly drawing a knife across your throat and waking you from your sleep. Both CD’s are virtually identical, with neither being an alter ego or ‘different’ companion CD. Goat offers up another 60+ minutes of well produced, truly draining, doomy black metal veiled with darkly mesmerizing tribal ebbs and acoustic occultism. However, it does kick off with “Death Shroud” , “Writhing” and “Bury the Soul Deep into the Dawn”, which open Goat with the entire album’s most aggressive and straightforward affairs.
On the downside, the entire effort is over two hours long, and its hard to discern Self from Goat if you listen to specific tracks, but as I mentioned, this isn’t easy absorbing, drive to work music, this is a contemplating suicide, ritualistic soundtrack to inner misery and bleak misanthropy as the angel of death hovers over you waiting for your soul to exit its mortal coil.
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