Azaghal (formed in ’95 under the name Belfegor) is together with Horna, Sargeist, and a few other acts, one of the pallbearers of the orthodox black metal genre in Finland. They have spawned so many releases that you might think that the well of creativity has gone dry. None of that! On “Alttarimme on luista tehey” Azaghal shows with brute force that they are still undead with eleven heretical tracks.
When hearing the opening tunes of Azaghal’s twelfth (!!!) studio album it doesn’t sound like a black but a death metal album. The black metal elements are still there, hidden away in the furious outbursts in (relatively) short, yet adrenaline-driven songs. It took me a few spins to digest the darkness offered on “Alttarimme on luista tehey” (which loosely translated means something like “altar of bones”). But in the end, this album managed to convince me with its crafty haunting songs, albeit in a slightly lower guitar tune than I’m used to.
I mentioned brute force, didn’t I? And I meant it because this album is fast, relentless and packs a lot of punch. “Alttarini on luista tehty” starts with the title track (you can also find it below as a video). The vocals of Thirteen (who replaced Niflungr) start the album and song without any further ado. It is a bold, dirty song with great melody and sees to it that you are off to a good start. Together with the closing track “Seitsemän ihmisen irvikuvaa”, which contains some really cool tempo shifts, guitar riffs and a solo, this is my favorite. In the short yet fierce follow-up “Kuaolemanmarssi” the brutal vocals of Thirteen in combination stand out.
“Syvyydestä liekkien takaa” has a powerful drive and excellent melodic guitars hailing from the background. “Ei valoa tuonelassa” as well as “Kultti”, with its great melodic mid-section, and “Kaaos” remind of Swedish death metal masters such ass At The Gates. After listening carefully these tracks have a haunted sense of urgency which keep sticking in a positive way.
This album contains pure, raw, bold power. It will take a few spins in order to hear the details and get a distinct identity from the songs themselves. But after that you hear that there’s real craftmanship behind the songs. And although I do miss the more refined, yet raw black metal sound of previous albums, there is more than enough quality on this album to offer re-play value. And besides this comment, I must admit that there is nothing wrong with this album. And that says something (since I am not a huge fan of death metal and affiliated genres).
I know, I am very late in reviewing this album because it is already released in February. Nowadays, so much is music offered, and the stream of releases seems to be endless. But I’ve always admired Azaghal, both live as on record. And “Alttarimme on luista tehey” is another worthy addition to the already massive discography of this band. Although there are other albums from Azaghal which have a more signature sound this album offers a very well-executed and powerful metal-fueled trip. So, give this album a chance, this dish will serve you well.
Rating: 7,7 / 10
Release Date: 24 February 2023
Label: Immortal Frost Productions
1. Alttarini on luista tehty
4. Paholaisen musta kieli
8. Syvyydestä liekkien takaa
10. Ei valoa tuonelassa
11. Seitsemän ihmisen irvikuvaa