With a brand new label and some changes in the lineup, Poland's black/death metal legends Azarath
returns this year with their brand new offering, Blasphemers' Maledictions
. Unlike it's predecessors, Blasphemers' Maledictions
presents to fans of Azarath
a new direction, already evident from the album artwork, a departure from the previous black-and-white themed album artworks.
's previous output, Praise the Beast
failed to catch my attention as it has always came across to me as overly lacking in the speed department, especially considering the member handling the drums, Inferno
, and his works on Behemoth
, and the somewhat boring song structures. Right from the get go on Blasphemers' Maledictions
though, all such prior impressions are broken down as the band seems to be high on speed this time, with most of the tracks on the album travelling at breakneck speed, leaving listeners with little time to breathe at all.While the opening/intro track Arising the Black Flame
seemed redundant, running at only 4 seconds, it is certainly a welcome move since it means less bullshit and a straight cut to the chase to the main onslaught of the album.
As Supreme Reign
begins the album proper, the listener is immediately thrown into a myriad of double-bass pedalled drumming and chaotic riffs, sounding like a mix of fellow Polish bands such as Behemoth
and Infernal War
, with the speed and intensity of both bands combined. Bassist/vocalist Necrosodom (also of Anima Damnata
) makes his debut full length appearance and the difference in the vocal approach is obvious; unlike previous vocalist Bruno who preferred a low-pitched growl, Necrosodom here makes use of a more barbaric style, bringing in a fresh sound to the band with him. At times he almost sounds like Marduk
, further enforcing the black metal aspects of the band and this is certainly a welcome move. There is an overall marked increase in the focus on the speed and technicality in the music, with guitarist Bart providing some of the most technical solos and riffing on top of the punishing pounding on the skins by Inferno
. Bart also alternates between these shred-fests and soaring solos, ensuring that things are kept interesting throughout. The soaring solos above the chaos below once again brings to mind bands like Infernal War
While the overall intensity and speed of the album has increased, the band has not forsaken the dark aspects of the music that was present on prior albums. For example, Firebreath of Blasphemy
had a somewhat dark mood throughout the track, and draws further comparisons with their countrymen with the fusion of black metal trem-picked and crushing death metal riffs. The band also displays variation in their songwriting style on slower tracks such as Under the Will
of the Lord
, which is perhaps one of the heaviest and most intense number on the album. There is also a certain desolation on the riffs towards the end of Deathstorms Raid the Earth
, proving that these Poles are capable of emotions as well. Also, despite the 45 minute run time, the speed that the band travels at ensures that there is not a single moment wasted, and the album all ends in the blink of an eye.
is a display of what Azarath
are worthy and capable of, and while this change in direction may alienate fans (though I fail to see why that should be the case), this is certainly a welcome move personally, and for speed-starved maniacs. If you liked the Holy Possession
EP, Blasphemers' Maledictions
would definitely be one hell of a ride.