In Extremis by AzarathRelease date: April 7, 2017
Label: Agonia Records
Behemoth’s drum beast Inferno is one of the pure powerhouses in extreme metals ranks. The inhuman force behind his work is blissful to witness and since 1998 he has been serving up precision bomb blasts for ‘other’ band Azarath with just as much venom and pomp as his premier band. Somewhat lurking in the shadows over the years, it’s also fair to say comparisons will always be made to Polish frontrunners Behemoth, having the same drummer doesn’t help matters, but Azarath have garnered their respect and authority as a major player in the extreme metal scene and these vets could certainly teach a thing or two to the up and comers.
It’s been too long since 2011’s highly lauded Blasphemers’ Malediction was released and for some fans eardrums have still yet to heal from its skull-fucking sonic maliciousness. Now after nearly six years of unbearable silence Azarath unleash their new offering In Extremis, an album that has a lot of raised horns to live up to. Thankfully this release both matches its predecessors extremity and forges onwards towards darker paths. Whilst this effort hardly pushes the boat out on originality it more than makes up with sheer headbanging grit, pummelled home with all the furious death metal vigour that have made Azarath their name.
Wasting no time on foreplay album opener ‘The Triumph of Ascending Majesty’ smacks you right in the face with a diabolically textbook death metal riff and the sudden gigantic pitter-patter of Inferno’s destroying blast beats pave way to destruction. Necrosodom’s snarling death rattles tear through the noise like a storm of violence with utter piss and vinegar, proving himself once again a fitting and thoroughly brutal frontman. The track winds down from straight violence with a somewhat off-kilter backwards guitar melody, putting strange closure to an intensely ferocious intro. ‘The Slain God’ marches into an enjoyable romp through old school death metal, bruising ears with thunderous atonal drum patterns and whirling riffs, all finally climaxing with a defiant Nergal-esque spoken vocal passage. Lead single ‘At The Gates of Understanding’ repeats and builds on the previous tracks use of sporadic blasts and wheel-screeching guitar interludes, only at a more bulldozing frenzy. With some seriously frenetic riffage it makes this track one of the album highlights.
‘Parasu Blade’ slices neatly near the albums midpoint, with drums cutting fast and furious like shards of glass whilst guitar riffage whirs like the buzzing of saws. ‘Into The Nameless Night’ kicks off with a clattering of cymbals and restrained machine gun blast beats, catchy-as-hell riffs and Necrosodom’s snarling barks. Couple this with deep old school chugs and maniacal shredding solos and you got yourself a track that’ll stand the test of time. Alongside ‘Venomous Tears (Mourn of the Unholy Mother)’ these are two of the albums killer onslaughts (and there’s plenty to choose from), blazing by at breakneck speed showing the unrelenting passion of its makers. ‘Death’ closes the album on a chaotic note filled to the brim with hectic guitars and scattered but savage blast beats. Whilst not the strongest track on the album it still rages by with doom-bringing glee.
In Extremis shows Azarath at their blistering best in what is an album that is as traditionally death metal as you want it to be. It’s safe to say they have delivered another punishing album though by the book in terms of originality. It’s a ‘does-what-it-says-on-the-tin’ album, certainly not to its detriment as why would Azarath fans want or need anything else? Their riffs are tight, full of enough hooks to pull you Hellraiser-style into the ferocious flesh of the album, with Bart and Necrosodom providing razor sharp mauling throughout. Inferno is in his usual beast mode, slaying behind the throne with precise blast beats and gorgeous fills. Song structures are still killer with an abundance of memorability, but the issue (and my only one) is that some tracks fall into ‘samey’ category, almost blending into one another due to the repetitive nature of the music. If you’re not concentrating you could easily mistake one song for another. Would I say that this ruins the album? Absolutely fucking not! It’s my job to pick out the good as well as the bad and believe me In Extremis is still up there with the best this year. By the album’s end you’re dust, with eardrums suitably fucked up… and that’s really all you need from an album like this.