Praise The Beast
posted on 8/2009 By:
Azarath are yet another relatively long-running death metal project (formed back in ’98) that features members from other, more popular bands in the same vein. This Polish act includes Trufel of the now-defunct Yattering on guitars, along with Inferno—the titanic death metal counterpart to Nergal’s black metal dwarf—behind the kit. Praise the Beast came out just a few months before Behemoth’s latest, Evangelion, and the buzz around the album consists largely of “dunno bro, sounds like Behemoth to me.” While the comparisons aren’t unwarranted, Azarath dilute the Demigod-onward formula with a very American dash of nasty, gritty sludge.
The minute of painfully hokey Ave-Sathanas chanting that prefaces Praise the Beast had me ready to write these guys off as redundant, but opener “I Hate Your Kind” sets the record straight awful quick. Though occasionally flocked with Eastern melodic lines, the track spends most of its time lurching through sickly, squeal-punctuated rhythmic muck. The churning guitars, staggering sense of groove and bassist/vocalist Bruno’s gravel throat all scream Immolation, and for a while it seems as though Azarath will attack along a genuinely different axis from that favored by Inferno’s other band.
Follow-ups “Invocation” and “Praise the Beast,” however, both explode out of the speakers in a torrent of sandswept leads, blastbeats, overbearing vocal layering, and slightly black-metally riffwork—in short, they’re a hell of a lot like Behemoth. In fact, the bulk of Praise the Beast owes quite a debt to their theatrical countrymen, though Azarath is consistently earthier and less over-the-top. The gooey, Immolation-style stomp of the opener makes returns on “Unholy Trinity” and “Queen of the Sabbath,” but overall the disc leans heavily towards Nile-Lite epicry.
So is Azarath different enough from Behemoth to justify following both bands? I’m not sure. I certainly find Praise the Beast more satisfying than Evangelion, largely because of its filthier production and more varied attack, but nonetheless, Inferno’s decision to pursue a side project so similar to his main band puzzles me. Fortunately, they pay me the big bucks to pontificate about metal, not to discern the motives of eight-foot-tall human drum machines. Praise the Beast is a safe bet for those who appreciate Behemoth’s approach and stellar musicianship, but want a little more disease in their death metal than the bigger band’s hospital-sterile recordings can provide.
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