Finnish black metal kings of releases Azaghal return with their sixth album in just over ten years “Luciferin Valo” (which is something like their 22nd release in total). It might be clear that I have missed a few releases over the years but over all this band, which is one of the oldest still active Finnish black metal hordes of today, delivers a certain kind of quality black metal.
And this album is nothing different from the rest in that respect, quality black metal, but on the other hand it is very standard and actually nothing shocking at all. Tracks like “Tuhoaja” and “Verta Ja Tuhkaa” for instance have that same old mid-era Darkthrone/Celtic Frost vibe in it. Done pretty well, but it sounds a bit soulless as well. And that is exactly what black metal needs to have to survive the endless flooding of (underground) black metal releases: a soul, an identity and a true atmosphere. The info that came with my promotional copy says this is typical Fnnish black metal, or literally they say this is black metal with a “true-Finnish-trademark”, which seems a little of a misunderstanding as certainly not all Finnish black metal is this non committal – on the contrary, Finland contributed quite some essential bands and albums to the development of black metal as a genre with the likes of Beherit, Impaled Nazarene and Barathrum.
It would be very hard to deny the pressence of some worthy black metal moments, but it would be even harder to proove this album to be essential or even very interesting. Let’s say this one if only for die-hard black metal collectors and Azaghal fans. In these times of quality scarceness in the black metal scene it might be worth your money if you’re searching for albums to spend your money on, yet I would wait for a better chance. Enjoyable but hardly essential! (FelixS)
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Azaghal, probably one of the most famous bands from Finland in the Black Metal underground. With a discography almost longer than the one of Metallica (don’t we all exaggerate from time to time?). they built up a cult status. Love them or hate them, Azaghal strikes with another album. With Mustamaa as the debut album in ’99 and Codex Antitheus as last predecessor, the members have been able to get some studio experience over the years. That should mean that Luciferin Valo is yet another masterpiece by Narqath, Varjoherra and JL Nokturnal.
The sixth official album, but the forth growing success of Azaghal doesn’t seem stoppable. Some people consider them boring, others extremely spectacular. I belong to the last group of people, and actually made myself an Azaghal collector and am thus able to see their evolution since their demos. Azaghal started crappy. Not only crappy, but extremely unstructured and chaotic, but starting to get better after the three first demos. Harmagedon was released in 1999 and contained pretty extreme Black Metal, and many EPs, CDs and other stuff were to follow.
The most people know them since their 2002 album ‘Of Beasts and Vultures’, which is a collection of extreme, very extreme vocals, beautiful somewhat chaotic riffs and a rhythmic drum. Not every release after ‘Of Beasts…’ was as well put together as that album, but Luciferin Valo comes fairly close. The riffs are once again the biggest focus point in the music, side by side with the extreme vocals screaming not understandable Finnish lyrics.
I always find it hard to write long reviews about Azaghal, since their music isn’t really deviating in one way or another, yet always interesting to listen to. I wouldn’t call the album a real ‘experience’, but that’s not something you should expect while buying the new Azaghal album.
I often tend to call Azaghal one of the most solid bands I know, because they didn’t underwent dramatic style changes since their start in the late nineties. They still use a sample once in a while, and still don’t seem to be much of an intro fan. This album blasts from the beginning, all the way through to the end. I would strongly recommend Teen Paholaisen Työtä, since that’s the most multilateral track on the album, with even the use of a long brake and some samples.
There’s nothing much I can say, apart from: ‘very well done’, once again. I can imagine you might wonder if this is a ‘been there, done that’-album, but I would say ‘no’ to that. This is a different album than Codex and all its other predecessors, but Azaghal apparently just hate style changes. That’s fine by me, since they still produce great music.
Black Terror Metal! (RobinVG)