Genre: Black metal
Full length: Alttarimme On Luista Tehty
Format: Vinyl, jewel case CD, digipack CD, box set, digital
Label: Immortal Frost Productions
Release date: February 24, 2023
Established in 1998, Azaghal is the brainchild of the Finnish musician Tomi “Narqath” Kalliola, who is also a member of Rutonkantaja, Svartkraft, With Hate I Burn, Wyrd, and Vultyr. He has also been involved with Belfegor, Hellkult, Finnugor and Necromortum to name a handful. Adding to a long line of personnel changes, their twelfth full-length "Alttarimme On Luista Tehty" features lead vocals by new addition Jukka "Thirteen" Pitkänen joining Narqath and drummer Lima (Amberian Dawn, Hautakammio, Lathspell).
Hailing from Finland the band is credited with drawing heavily from Swedish death metal and black metal; specifically Dismember and Dark Funeral. Sticking to formula, they strive to maintain that excessiveness in their original form rather than moving toward post-black metal. They could have done the latter if they thought it would add depth to this album, but they decided instead to take a purist route. If their recent lineup change is intended to breathe new life into this formula, it seems to be working for them.
”Alttarimme On Luista Tehty” is my first experience with Azaghal, and had I not known they were veterans of extreme metal, I would have thought this was one of their early albums. The proof is apparent from the beginning; with equal parts ease, seasoned familiarity, and commitment, the opening track launches an offensive on your senses. The guitars and bass balance sharp, trebly dissonances, unorthodox scales, and lower pitched, slightly grindcore-like melodies while the drums reinforce and maintain their energy.
Atmospheric sections woven into the songs demonstrate the new lineup's ability to broaden their range while remaining harmonious and congruent. There are even some elements that reminded me of Burzum and Immortal for their hypnotic hyperblast. The vocals are suitably coarse for the song structure, warbled in an approach that is somewhat reminiscent of Mika Luttinen of Impaled Nazarene. With the instruments backing them, the vocals come across as full and from the gut, and in tight sync with the songwriting.
Finally there are slight shades of rock and blues added to the extreme approach the band takes with ”Alttarimme On Luista Tehty”, and the method by which they’re added certifies a band doesn’t have to diminish their intensity to display them. All of these elements combined generates increasing intensity with each song. In turn this gives the album a cataclysmic sound you might not have expected Azaghal to achieve if it were not for the fresh ideas and vitality brought to the formula with their revamped lineup. –Dave Wolff
Narqath: Guitars, bass, keyboards, vocals
1. Alttarini on Luista Tehty
4. Paholaisen Musta Kieli
8. Syvyydestä Liekkien Takaa
10. Ei Valoa Tuonelassa
11. Seitsemän Ihmisen Irvikuvaa