AZAGHAL – Nemesis
There were very few releases in 2011 that really made my jaw hit the floor. Thank all that is unholy, then, for the good folk at Moribund Records who have finished the year in style with cracking releases from Satan’s Host, Pact and best of all, this little gem from Finland’s Azaghal.
As this is their 9th full-length album, one would expect that Azaghal would have their chops down to a fine art and that is certainly the case on the evidence of this release. For my money, this is the best release I’ve heard in the last year, Black Metal or otherwise. The show opens with the blistering ‘In Deathlike Silence’, as good an example of modern BM as you could wish for. The production is balanced and clear, catching all of the power and every nuance of the layered guitar and vocals. Next up is ‘Pohjoisen Valkoinen Kuolema’ setting off with a rocking old-school beat. Beyond the mid-way point, things slow down somewhat and the more melodic side of Azaghal’s game becomes apparent. The thing is, that whether playing straight up, flat out or more mid-paced dynamic material, there is absolutely no point where Azaghal fail to impress. The song-writing, composition and musicianship are just so accomplished. Add to that the wealth of ideas and studio experience and you have a winning combination.