Disciples of Sacrilege by Abazagorath

Release date: April 28, 2017
Label: Eternal Death

Disciples of Sacrilege may be the most popular release in Abazagorath’s discography, and rightfully so. It introduces the band to a larger audience, having been covered nicely by blogs and zines. Disciples of Sacrilege is easily Abazagorath’s best work, most intense, most nuanced and most complex.

It’s not a blast and stop album. The band mostly play uptempo, without going at one pace before slowing down. They utilize plenty of catchy riffery as they gallop, blast and double-kick in mid-tempo to the allure of fans who want something different in black metal. By different, I don’t mean Botanist-sort of innovation. Disciples of Sacrilege mix hard rock strumming, tremolo picking, wild solos and variety in the drum patterns rarely heard these days with bands spawned from 90’s black metal circa second wave.

Abazagorath has been around for years, mostly entrenched in the underground scene and largely hit and miss in public reception. If I were to dare say this without having heard their prior albums, I would cease to speculate just how good they sound on Disciples of Sacrilege. This album doesn’t just rock, it sustains repeat listens. Fans can listen to this with a headset on, and the headbanging might dislodge said headset should they enjoy themselves to the hilt. The truth is, this style isn’t typical for Abazagorath, and if anyone were to ask me if I think Disciples of Sacrilege is the band’s best album so far, I would candidly agree.

They’ve had a long, extensive discography, and I own some of the albums listed. However, when I heard some bloggers and zine staff writers proclaim Disciples of Sacrilege one of the best black metal albums they’ve heard this year, I was skeptical in spite of my admittance to liking the band. After all, none of their albums have attained the acclaim this one has earned so far, and I genuinely disregarded that hype when I took my first listen to Disciples of Sacrilege.

It turned out to be true after all. Abazagorath has released its breakthrough, however likely of fans to dismiss most of the claims. It’s truly hard for fans to anoint the next great band unless mainstream media outlets and notoriety favor a band’s public relations and marketing blitzes. Consider that Behemoth had a large portion of their discography never live up to expectation until The Satanist blew doors wide open for the band, and you’ll see why. Being one of the first bands in black/death to gain the sort of hype that underground bands would refuse let alone like, Behemoth were riding a crest with releases like Demigod and The Apostasy, but that clouds the fact that a greater portion of their earlier material has always been considered mediocre, and always will be considered as such. It illustrates just how steep that climb is for any underground band that wishes to play live before sold-out festivals. And however deserved or fitting a band’s hype reaching fever pitch, it is monumentally difficult for an underground band to gain the credibility that most mainstream bands never truly attain anyway.

So, back to Abazagorath, what this review will conclude is that Disciples of Sacrilege is the band’s best work so far. It is almost an underground classic. Will it ever get as far as the mainstream? It won’t, which means two things: Successful bands succeed due to hype, and second, an album that fares well in underground circles doesn’t need the mainstream market to earn the acclaim it was meant to. Abazagorath has hit its apex. Will another exhilarating record cement their status in the metal scene and help them gain the audience reserved only for bands that sell-out stadiums, or will they quietly amass a discography of impressive detail with more albums of high quality even if they never set foot on that plateau mainstream metal is based on? It remains to be seen.

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