Release DetailsLABEL Moribund Records
RELEASED ON 3/4/2008
posted on 4/2008 By:
It was pure curiosity that led to choosing their newest release, Omega, to once again become acquainted with this understated Finnish four piece powerhouse after listening to and reviewing Azaghal’s last album, Luciferin Valo. In contrast to …Valo which was simply solid to my ear, Omega is strikingly more varied, risky, and uncompromising overall. With little doubt, it’s apparent the band is making a very loud, definitive statement on their newest effort, resulting in a disc that’s difficult to brush off.
There are no worries as to whether or not the black metal flame burns brightly on this album, but lighter moments with keyboard embellishments, clean vocals, and a general increased emphasis on melody and cohesive riffing really dominates events this time around. The fleshing-out of these more expansive elements really adds a new side to Azaghal, as all of the musicians fall comfortably into slower grooves very smoothly, and they show restraint in letting nuances and small note deviations breathe and broaden the soundscapes beyond clinical black metal. I’m once again reminded how influential Immortal has been, as much of Omega reminds me of Damned In Black and Blizzard Beasts.
Even though a few of these elements might frighten some people off in theory, Omega is first and foremost a blistering blast assault led by Varjoherra’s savage vocal delivery and supported by some of the fastest, most creatively cold riffs I’ve heard this year. As soon as the seven-minute whiplash “Taman Maailman Prinssi” comes out of the gates kicking and flailing, it’s clear Azaghal have upped the ante, as a nearly death metal belch erupts beneath an up-tempo old school lurch before accelerating back to more high speed blackness followed by a very brief Candlemass downshift @ 5:02 or so. “Pirun Verta” is merciless with the riff attack at first, but soon shifts into a slower groove designed to snap necks with headbanging, and brings forth raspy clean vocals with great success.
“Quetzalcoatl” begins with one hell of a huge stomping riff and works it for all it’s worth leading into a cinematic, epic break and calm keys, but it’s not long before a reworked blasting version of that same thundering initial rhythm returns to heat things up to the boiling point. “Tuhkaan Kirjoitettu” also begins with a killer slow groove and throws in tasteful blasts along the way, but never fully deviates from the more sullen, somber mood it begins with, standing out due to the strangely beautiful cold riffs which end suddenly. On the other side, if you want a pure hateful blast as dynamic and unfriendly as you can get, then prepare to be battered by closing scorcher “Kaikkinakevan Silman Alla”, a relentless conclusion that should leave just about any black metal fan exhausted and satisfied.
There really isn’t a weak track to be heard among these nine sometimes barbarically aggressive tunes, and it helps in no small way that the production on Omega is of very high quality, with a mix that sounds neither overly processed nor obnoxiously raw. This is an extremely well-structured, unexpected black gem of an album that I HIGHLY recommend to fans of blazingly fast, yet calculated music of this nature. I was really blown away by the depth and tenacity of the material performed here, and this review is much too short to fully interpret what a great work of art this turned out to be. In a word: Badass.
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