Azaghal - _Codex Antitheus_
(Avantgarde Music, 2005)
by: Pedro Azevedo (7 out of 10)
Azaghal start _Codex Antitheus_ with some chanting about Satan that immediately had me wondering how cheesy this was going to get; but shortly after that the Finns tear into a venomous riff with vocals to match and rapid drumming, and soon things start shaping up nicely. The chanting unfortunately returns in the shape of an annoying chorus line belted out in black vox, but by then Azaghal already had most of my attention. After my very mixed feelings about opener "Agios o Baphometh", a melody and vocal line on second track "Nekromanteia" not unlike Ulver's _Nattens Madrigal_ decidedly grabbed the rest of my attention. Again the song did not exactly benefit from a very inspired chorus, but nonetheless by this stage I was quite enjoying my first listen. The ensuing title track drops the Ulver influence in favour of a more straightforward charge, which is nevertheless well realized -- give or take the third unremarkable chorus in a row and some cringeworthy clean singing.

Instead of more Ulver influences, the middle section of the album shows the band incorporating some heavy metal stylings into their black metal -- more high-pitched wailing and clean singing unfortunately included, along with some guitar solos. On tracks like "30 Hopearahaa" this is actually mixed with some of those Ulverian tendencies, and the result is jarring to say the least. What's worse, further listens to the album fail to alleviate this situation, leaving me in a sort of limbo whereby I seem equally unable to give up on the album and to actually enjoy it throughout. The remainder of the album tends to go back to the style of the first few tracks, with a variation in the doomy closing track "Sieluton". In the end this is a very decent album; it is mostly annoyance at the presence of some unfortunate sections that sparks my complaints, and there seems to be reasonable potential for the future in this band


(article published 20/6/2005)

10/23/2006 P Azevedo 6.5 Azaghal - Luciferin Valo
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