Azarath - In ExtremisI make it a point to never judge a band by the musical contributions of its members. Case in point: Azarath. This Polish death metal behemoth boasts in its ranks Inferno from, well, Behemoth. As such, I know that many people are going to draw comparisons between this act and Poland’s favorite Satanic sons. Doing so shortchanges Azarath‘s five vicious full-lengths and their own standing among Poland’s influential scene. Their last, 2011’s Blasphemers’ Maledictions, ripped heads aplenty with its visceral take-neither-shit-nor-prisoners approach and ridiculous headbangability. How does their first album in six years, In Extremis, hold up against the strengths of their previous work?

Quite well, actually. Azarath wastes no time in leveling faces with opener “Triumph of Ascending Majesty.” Inferno’s trademark blasts gallop forth, blanketed by some savage riffery by guitarists Bart and Necrosodom. Necrosodom’s voice retains that “Peter (Vader) gargling gasoline and glass shards” viciousness and clarity that fits so well. We are treated to a bit of a reprieve halfway in with a catchy breakdown before being thrown into the vortex once more. The song closes with a backwards-sounding ominous melody, and already expectations have been met with conviction and brutal efficiency.

And not once does the band lay off the acceleration. Thankfully, a few surprises lurk within, throwing the listener for a bit of a loop. “Annihilation (Smite All the Illusions)” possesses one of the sickest groove parts I have heard in the context of a death metal song, and it’s delivered with a sickening force that you can’t help but do one of those whole-body headbangs to it. Likewise, “The Slain God” opens with an atmospheric drum/riff combo that would make Nile step out of their sarcophagi and take notice. Necrosodom does this weird-but-catchy dog snarl to open up “Sign of Apophis,” catching the ear and dragging you into the sheer insanity of Inferno’s fills and blasts. Oddly enough, as much as Inferno’s drumming is a focal point, it stands shoulder-to-shoulder with the absolute savagery of Bart and Necrosodom’s riffing.

Azarath 2017
And now, the qualms. The Haldor Grunberg mix and master is as brutal as the music, and in some cases, it works against the band. You rarely hear bassist Peter’s playing unless he’s applying distortion, and even then it’s a crapshoot. When the band goes into hyper blast (which is often), the music turns into a blackened death soup of distortion, compression, and bad drum sounds. The one thing you don’t want when you have a powerhouse drummer like Inferno is to compress or weaken his drumming. Also, the back half of In Extremis suffers from severe deja-vu. On my first listen, I thought “Sign of Apophis” was double the length, as Necrosodom utilized that same barking that introduced that song in the immediate follow-up “Into the Nameless Light.” Compared to the first half, In Extremis becomes a bit too repetitive for my liking.

But I can’t help but enjoy my time with In Extremis. If there was any justice at all in this world, Azarath would stand on their own as a force to be reckoned with, and not merely known as “Inferno’s Other Band.” If you crave vicious blackened death metal, it would be a disservice not to check out In Extremis. I just don’t want to wait another six years for a follow-up.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 256 kbps mp3
Label: Agonia Records
Website: facebook.com/AzarathBand
Release Dates: EU: 2017.04.07 | NA: 06.09.2017

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  • Levly

    The production is really too bad, and the record suffers from the comparison with its glorious predecessor. It’s one level below I would say, so I totally agree with your great review :). As you say, it’s a lot of fun, but a little repetitive and not as inspired as Blasphemer. That one, though, is the real deal, an absolute beast of a record.

  • Jason

    The vocals kinda remind me of Nile, which isn’t a bad thing. I can get into this band. I’ll have to look deeper into their discography.

  • The Unicorn

    Time to review the new Memoriam release. Bring it on!!!! Karl continues to kill it.

    Edit: my bad, I see that FB already reviewed it. Thanks!

    • We reviewed that last week.

      • But you haven’t reviewed Possession and Corpus Diavolis (unless I’m demented)!

  • Drew Music

    I thought the whole point was to judge the musical contributions of the band members???
    I know what you’re getting at there, the wording just seems a bit off to me.
    Either way, great review as always, and it is nice to see that Azarath is still a thing. Unrelated, but any idea if there’s a God Dethroned review on the horizon?

    • AndySynn

      Definitely.

      Oh, you weren’t talking to me.

      • Drew Music

        I am now, mahfuckah! You wonderfully unclean folk at NCS were the heralds of this most glorious of tidings unto mine earballs, and what a lift that was! I’ll be keeping an eye out, I’ve loved them since Passiondale (lazy) and can’t quite get enough.

    • Here’s Johnny

      talking of God Dethroned, the second song on this album sounds like them.

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    I like Azarath better than Behemoth…

    • By-tor

      Me too. More blast, less pretentious.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        And those are exactly the reasons why I like Azarath more.

      • Drew Music

        Nailed it, though I’d be lying if I said my library wasn’t full ov Behometh. I think their over-the-top thematics and somewhat accessible style make them an easy go-to band for anyone in need of a darky, heavy fix, but around 20/21 I noticed the charm was starting to wear for me. I’ll never look back on any Behemoth album with even half the head-shaking of other old favorites (I used to think Slipknot were heavy as all hell, and I’ve even paid for a The Autumn Offering album a time or two,) but my inability to take them (as) seriously is only ever waning as I find myself staring at the last, fast-dwindling expanse of months between myself and 30. As long as shit like God Dethroned, Ulcerate, Saor and Agalloch never likewise lapse into being something I liked when I was a younger, dumber Drewcifer, I can live with the changing times.

  • Tom Hardy

    You can’t sound any more pissed off than this album right now, right here. 5/5 from me and the best Azarath since their old days, salute em for their return to form. Don’t know where you get Nile from, if you ever listen to their older records this’s just like old Azarath. It’s their own sound, I’m sorry to say.

    • Agreed with this, reminded me of old Azarath and I loved the album. Brilliant stuff.

    • Grymm

      I referenced Nile in terms of atmosphere, not so much as in what they sound like.

  • GWW

    4/5. Love their style, militant.

  • Here’s Johnny

    the previous album was killer and had a thick production, so either the production on this is meant(to sound more old school) or had less money spent on it.

    personally i don’t think it hurts the music too bad, its almost black metal-ish, which suits. i think they have tried to make it sound like the old records.